Last updated June 5th 2017
Written by Lisa Geismar
For as long as Jossef Krispel can remember, he’s been a painter—and an accomplished one at that. The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design graduate (and long-time lecturer) thinks of paint as an ‘actor’, applying it to different surfaces to belie notions of truth, perception, deception and facades.
He’s far from niche, with an impressive body of work that is rooted in context and tradition—but with no boundaries to peg him down or give him the typical artist ‘stamp’. He actively defies mainstream confines, creating paintings that allow for interpretation based on simple differences (like the distance or angle at which they are viewed from) or profound disparities (like the viewers’ overall perceptions of art, painting, color and life itself). They bear names like ‘Changes,’ ‘Fabricated,’ and ‘I’m Forced to Fake.’
As a painter, Krispel hinges on his exploration of transfiguration, metamorphosis, hidden images and the states of being alive or dead. In recent years he’s departed from the progressive portraiture and Baroque-inspired paintings he’s become iconic for; instead gravitating towards large-scale, technicolor monoprints and charismatic grid-like paintings that feature exposed Formica canvas, vivid colors and “simulated fabrics” to evoke a dynamic state of gestures, meaning, motion—and even sound.
Krispel considers his pieces to be “simple but not delicate,” wanting people to feel close to them to the point of assuming they could create them on their own. In this aspect, he spins the notion of art on its head, creating installations that speak for themselves but with room for personal connection and relatability, too.
Photo Credits: Daniel Lewitt, Jossef Krispel, Elad Sarig.
Portraits of the artist by Arielle Manesh.