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Zipora Fried

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Installation, Pencil on Paper, CCNOA 2005
Excerpts from an essay by Zipora Fried, 2005

...The subtlety of the large pieces is so strong that only by viewing them in person can one see their essence. Simplicity is a very hard thing to achieve. These are compositions made by hand, so imperfections can be seen. The drawings are dense with strong and powerful markings repeated over the entire surface. There are no emphasized areas – all are treated equally. There are minimal value contrasts. I have a clear image of the composition before I start; then I concentrate on the scale and proportions. The finished piece seems to carry a moral dimension, in that it can be seen to stand for virtues such as order, purity and simplicity. It is an outpouring of discipline, a modicum of sanity. I work for hours on end, I am drawing to a close and my mind opens to the thought of nothingness. Something that Hannah Arendt said, comes to my mind:

"… a timeless region, an eternal presence in complete quiet, lying beyond human clocks and calendars altogether...the quiet of the now in the time-pressed, time-tossed existence of man...this small non-time space in the very heart of time."

The image I create seems to be woven. There is an organic sense of shifting and growth in the work, of changing rhythms, an expression without words. I am leaving a trace that appears to be heavy and strong, but it is extremely vulnerable.

I interrupted the series Nr.1- Nr. 500 when I reached nr. 35. to begin another series of even larger drawings, four over a period of one year – one for each season. I wanted to make larger works, a series that had a predictable ending because I needed a project that was terminable, that had a beginning and an end. The plan which could not be completed no longer held my attention. And those forms became even less important, much more so the rhythm in each drawing and the stroke. The beauty of the line – the eloquence of the mark – dominated my motivation and, again, the monumentality of the visual end experience.

The process of drawing and making marks became captivating. The lust for line trumps everything. John Ruskin said about drawing, years ago, that one purpose of drawing was to record things that could not be described in words.

Unlike the first series where I could see the entire piece I was working on, now I cannot see the end of the process. I am still thinking about the final product, about the surface and the strokes, but I no longer want to see the beginning and the end of each work. I want to challenge someone to consider monotony, rhythm and endurance.

While I am working, the beginning of the piece is always hidden from me, and by the time I am finished most of the drawing is caught up in a scroll. I know that it will be finished at some point, but I don't know exactly when. It is a reconciliation with uncertainty, accepting that which cannot be controlled.

I was always interested in the time before language; the time of making a mark without speaking. When one cannot speak one cannot stay silent. I feel the awareness of the unpresentable produced by the recognition of its own powerlessness. It is not the beautiful but the formless that is characteristic of the sublime. Here we cannot know but only think. Pain and pleasure is experienced through the failure of imagination to achieve its goal.

In my current series, "The Memory of what we forget," I cross out each line of a collection of books, thus obscuring their content. I am censuring the books, all memory, creating only a trace of the stories told. Silent books. Sometimes you feel as if you're constantly inundated by endless chatter. The only way out for me is to draw over it, or draw through it. I long for a good silence...

Zipora Fried

1963 born in Haifa, Israel

Lives and works in New York, United States


1985 - 1990 Academy of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria


2004 Austrian Government’s Project Grant for Visual Art
1991 Austrian Government’s Grant for Experimental Film

Solo Exhibitions

2005 CCNOA, Brussels, Belgium
2004 Weighing Time, Galerie Terre Rouge, Luxembourg

Group Exhibitions

2005 Dinaburg Arts, NY
2005 Early Fabricated, Melbourne Instalment, AU
2005 Traces Everywhere, Tracy Williams, NY


The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Albertina, Museum of Graphic Art, Vienna, Austria
Werner Kramarsky Collection, New York
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel
The Jewish Museum, Vienna, Austria


Zipora Fried, "Hours on End", 6 publications, Australia, October 2005
Joao Ribas, "Overture", essay, Flash Art International, October 2005
Joao Ribas, "Traces Everywhere", review, Art Review international, April 2005
Zipora Fried, "The memory of what we forget", artist book, CCNOA 2005
Amanda Church, "Traces Everywhere", reviw, Art On Paper,NY, March/April 05
Alexis Juncosa, "C’est une Revolte Contre la Systeme", review, Nico, Luxembourg, pg.14-18, 2.6.2004
Marc Clement, "Gewichtungen":Künstler als Lebensforscher", review, Tageblatt, Luxembourg, 21-23 February 2004
Robert Schindel, Zipora Fried, Into the Deserts of Life, artist book, Thurnhof Publishing, Horn 2002
Peter Danner, Herrscher Mönche und Soldaten, illustrations, pg.90-113, Berg 2002
Ernst Krenek,Reisebuch aus den Österreichischen Alpen, illustrations, pg.148-155, Berg 2000
Giovanny di Lorenzo, Der Verdacht, illustration, Süddeutsche Zeitung Nr.52, pg. 3, 2/3.March 1991
Henky Hentschel, Unter dem Lächeln der Venus, illustration, Süddeutsche Zeitung Nr.230, pg. 155, 5/6.October 1991
Maxim Biller, Die Marx Brothers in Deutschland, illustration, Süddeutsche Zeitung Nr.299, pg. 41, January 1991
Maxim Biller, Eine Liebe im Vorkrieg, illustration, Süddeutsche Zeitung Nr.301, pg.511, January 1992
Peter Sichrovsky, Der Stier in Mir, Schlimm dieser Osten, Jenseits von Moskau, Die Dummen von gestern......., Der Standard, illustrations 1990-1994
Dorien Ross, New York Angels, illustration, The jewish Quarterly, pg.40-41, Autumn 1995
Gegenwart, literary essays, illustrations, 1994-1997


Zipora Fried




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