Some Thougths on Yael Erlichman's Sculptures
By Varda Steinlauf - A curator at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Her essays on modern and contemporary art have appeared in numerous books and catalogues, 2011
Hanging at the entrance to the artist Yael Erlichman's home is a bronze mask of a medusa with puffed cheeks. Another medusa with a wide-open mouth and protruding tongue hangs elsewhere within the house. In ancient times, images of the medusa's head, with coiled snakes for hair and a tongue protruding out between sharp fangs, was stamped onto doors, walls, coins, and suits of armor in the hope of dispelling evil and keeping it out of arm's reach.
Another female figure sculpted in bronze is immersed in a pool of water in the garden surrounding the artist's house. Only her upper body and legs peer out of the water, whose surface is covered with water lilies and green leaves. Clumps of grapes hang off the large ribbon tied around her hair. This full-bodied, succulent, partially undressed figure is highly sensuous.
By Orit Lotringer - Art Curator and Critic, 2006
Yael Erlichman's impressive bronze sculptures address the human image; however her work deviates from the accurate realistic documentary depiction, providing a subjective, optimistic, and poetic angle, stemming from the artist's inner world and personal experiences. Her sculptures are characterized by a positivistic approach which does not seek to protest, or touch upon the darker and painful aspects of life, constituting a declaration of sorts and sincere aspiration toward evoking tranquility and revealing manifestations of the inner beauty of humankind.
Yael Erlichman was born in 1954 on Kibbutz Givat Brenner and imbibed the values of human dignity in respect to all of humankind. In a similar vein to the Romanticists, the artist views human nature as a source of power and inspiration, and in her sculptures she focuses on the human image as inducing visual-esthetic sensations and values, while being profoundly aware of the tradition of progressive and expressive sculpture, with a refined humoristic approach.
Yael studied at two art colleges over the years and apprenticed with renowned sculptors. She creates her bronze castings in a casting house on the hills of Jerusalem, in which several Israelis and expert Palestinians from the Bethlehem area work in full collaboration. Yael is at the casting house four times a week, and works in full cooperation with its staff, being involved in each and every stage of the casting of the sculptures and working with meticulous detail. Toward the end of the bronze sculpture process she polishes and files each sculpture separately and by doing so (even when this involves a series of sculptures), each work of art takes on a unique expression and position, which slightly differs from the others.
Yael tends to humanize her sculptures and gives them names like Don Bosco (after the well known priest from Bethlehem), Isabel, Charlotte - with a significant portion of the charm embodied by the sculptures conceived by her control over the art's expression, and her ability to create facial expressions and set-ups for her characters which spur the imagination and spark interest.
Sometimes, the artist creates a quasi installation with the help of a collection of sculptures, simulating a scene in which "her sculptures are watching" a theatrical play. This is the theater of life, in which we, the viewers, also take part.
Yael's sculptures serve as a tribute to the joy of art, and it seems that at any given moment she will succeed at breathing life into the inanimate objects.