Raphael Perez – Born in Jerusalem in 1965, twenty-three years old, lives and works in Tel Aviv, studied art at the College of Visual Arts in Be’er Sheva. His work was shown at Tel Aviv Museum of Art and he had some solo exhibitions, too, like in Janco Dada, at A’s Artists House in Tel Aviv and in many other Art spaces.
In 2010 he was chosen to produce the Israeli campaign of the Ministry of Tourism and works naivete appeared in the city of London and the United States, where his work was shown on huge billboards, buses, trains, et cetera. He had 30.000 wallets with his paintings printed on them distributed freely in the metro of London, his naive paintings appeared on 50 Aitoniim England and the aim was to promote tourism to Israel and the presentation of the state in a positive, upbeat, happy, liberal way. Peretz paints naïve paintings with bright lights of pamphlet which, in relation to the European winter, have been a huge success in promoting tourism to Israel. Perez began to draw the naive style since 1997 under the influence of his work with young children. Over the years, his work in the field, drawing and painting in notebooks and diaries images of childhood. This experience strengthened his love of color and expressive simplicity of children. Perez is working in the tradition of naive painting. He paints mainly in the urban landscape of the cities of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Safed and international cities like London, New York, Nice and Paris.
THE PANORAMIC TEL AVIV
OF RAFI PEREZ’S PAINTINGS
Rafi Perez, an artist living in Tel Aviv, paints urban landscapes of the central places of his hometown. Peretz strolls the city, scrutinizes the commercial and entertainment centers, the architectural, geographic and historic landmarks, depicting his unique personal point of view. All these places are adorned in a festive manner, which render a sense of belonging, intimate encounters and good time. The routine day-life of couples is a way of expressing his private aspiration for family life. His scenes are often the usual activity in public places like a promenade in the park, walking on the seashore, or sailing on the Yarkon river. Tel Aviv of Perez is a town in which young couples and families fill the streets, the gardens, the sea-shore, the houses, the verandas, namely every corner of the town. The figures in his paintings are almost uniform, having the same homogeneous shape which intensifies the feeling of a big-town herd.
The motive of the group unit that Peretz’s paintings deal with has been used by a former artist – Yochanan Simon, who painted mostly the Kibbutz life. Simon that lived and worked in the Kibbutz, used to express the communal life and the human pattern of the kibbutzniks, where there are all equal. Peretz, very much like Simon, has contributed to the Israeli society the most important value that it is seeking – the sense of identity and belonging.
As the citizen of Tel Aviv, Perez maps his territory and marks its borders reminding its historic heritage. Unlike other local artists, Perez seeks to express the existence of its citizens and their deep love for their city. Peretz chose to paint the historic landmarks of Tel Aviv also as a tribute to the well-known artist – Nahum Gutman – who lived, painted and loved this city all his life. Gutman as a native, was the first to experience the most constitutive events of the city ( such as the first oil lamp of the streets, the first music concert, the first pavement), and in his works he restored these unique moments and events preserving their magic. Perez like Gutman marked the city as the object of his love and the city, in return, decorates itself so colorful and energetic as one that is asking to become a city that never stops renovating, merging the old with the new – the Bauhaus style with the high-tech glass-and-steel buildings. All these sights are expressed in Peretz’s works from a non-conventional angle, in rectangular formats, imitating panoramic view of a city that is celebrating a century.
Daniel-Kahane Levinson – Curator