The painting and the artwork have been with me since childhood. Only after undergoing a series of surgeries on my back, which kept me doing non-stop treatments, undergoing chronic pain, and in the end, leaving me disabled, I decided to return to this painting. A need that filled my life and relieved my pain, and on the other hand, an alternative; layers of paint that create another existence in the same reality.
In my work, I find the fusion between the real, the surreal, the fantastic and the symbolic as the language of the natural world, a combination of the burdens of truth in the human soul, its reality and its search for the sublime, in the face of human complexity, which, inadvertently creates definitions and layers of filters to the painting acquired throughout its life; The layers of paint on a canvas that express an existential state; life being the example.
Like love versus apathy, like pain versus resignation, such as light and shade against color, this objective confrontation of the human soul, its symbiotic relations with itself coupled with universe and nature, and the beauty in the simplicity of life and the mystery surrounding it, as well as the attempt to decipher it. The material and the infinite nothing - an encounter whose end is shattered and drained into one visual scene.
Each scene is a continuation through the journey of my life, which began in moments of grace. A long and winding journey; tired from illusions leading to different metamorphoses. A journey that begins by planting observation without definitions and filters, and ending with the creation of another honest visual conclusion, one that allows a viewer interpretation to find in it a personal and individual meaning.
Avihai Cohen confronts the heroic and the idealistic, the beautiful and exalted, the enchanted and the marvelous. His oil paintings are not only monumental because of their size but also for their fascinating mythical content. As if it were quoted from one of the works of the exceptional Portuguese author Fernando Pasua, Cohen does not deal with daily or banal aspects of life. He pictures an incredible virtuosity from his inner thoughts and feelings that disturb his rest, deals with the epic romantic dialogue with his personal wonderment, which he sees and feels. He draws the composition of his personal life and his constant Sisyphean wonderment for perfection and idealism. Avihai Cohen seems a suffering prophet whose body betrayed him in mid-life and commanded him to surrender to his physical impairments, but at the same time appointed him and blessed his natural talents towards the wonderful journey to the drawers of his soul, to the artistic assignment that created a unique expression and an angel touch.
The classical monument of the Dying Warrior, "The Swan song”, brings to Avihai Cohen inspiration in spite of its being 2000 years. A perfect ideal male body fastened to a rope by the neck, which is torn by a hunter and allows him to confront life. All the images drawn by Cohen, despite being tied in a physical and mental way and unable to move, will confront a white swan or a flock of birds flying up in the sky completely free from ropes or cages. The body maybe tied but the soul flies upwards. This feeling becomes stronger in his painting “Last Sweetest Pain” where a feather is depicted bleeding and it is asking to break up and it conveys the personal feeling of the artist. The physical impairment replaces artistic potency and strength, which creates “rehabilitation” through the painting and the strong visual expression that Avihai Cohen creates. This illustration can be found in his painting “Angel Creation, Blood Angel “, The image of a beautiful young girl with a perfect body, as in every Cohen’s work, is created from a huge graffiti drawn on a wall. This erotic figure wraps itself in wings and it seems that at the end of its creation will fly heavenward towards life. The creative artist, who is described in detail as sprinkling the paint, is part of that absurd theatre in which Avihai Cohen participates.
Cohen’s fascinating works is the autobiographic series, which throws light on all of his interpretations of life. In one of his paintings he describes scenes of his own life, and in another he appears with a heroic body where his hand is wrapped in Tefilin, and in another one a bird is placed by his side. In all his works he emphasizes the basis of his real dilemma to get to what is right and ideal. The life journey is the journey of artistic discovery. Avihai Cohen began his career in graphic design and turned to artistic painting, which is influenced by the classic, and mythical painting that became a personal saying of his own. The perfect and beautiful women in his painting are part of his constant wonderment to examine what exists and the unobtainable in life together with the continuous dream to touch and feel the moment of being aroused. Venus who comes down from the waves is placed on a shell surrounded by broken pieces of a dream, another young woman circles on the back of the swan towards eternal worlds, and another woman asks to get off the thickness of a trunk rooted in the ground. All of them are extremely beautiful, and all of them represent the exceptional world of Avihai Cohen. All of them are part of the utopian puzzle that takes the visitors of the exhibition to a journey into the invisible wonder that exists inside the intransigent reality of our lives.
Doron Polak / Curator
1975 - First Prize, a nationwide drawing competition on "the Holocaust"
2003 - single. "Moments of grace". Amalia Arbel Gallery, Tel Aviv.
2004 - single. "Moments". Thread Arts Cinematheque, Tel Aviv.
2005 - "Artists at personal". Givatayim Theatre.
2005 - single. "Just a minute," Alternative Gallery, Tel Aviv.
2006 - Guest artist. The Dndikob streets.
2006 - Guest artist. Gerard Bechar Theatre, Jerusalem.
2006 - "Festival Girl". Outdoor Bat Yam.
2007 - Guest artist. Castra Center Haifa.
2007 - "Chairs speak". National park in Ramat Gan
2008 - single. "Magic Journey". Mann Auditorium Rishon Lezion.
2008 - Guest Artist, Gallery Gaudi, Ra'anana.
2008 - Guest artist, Goose House Gallery, Raanana.
2009 - single. "Soaring, my dear." Ramat Gan diamond Cultural Hall
2009 - "The Art of Movement". The Volvo and Jaguar City.
2010 - single. "Unmask and more" - white hand Warehouse RG
2011 - "bird head". Home Gallery Vilkomich. Rosh Pina.
2014 - single. "Into the Miraculous" Givatayim Theatre.
2015 - The Monmouth Museum, New Jersey Portraits Exhibition
2018 - "Once in a lifetime", Artists house Tel aviv.