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To Generate Shemi


My search for Yechiel Shemi’s sculptures started in a library. Of all the different books and images, I was drawn to one incredibly heavy and exceptional sculpture. Later, I discovered that the sculpture appears in another book, but there it looks somewhat different – in one photo, the sculpture is painted gray and in the other – orange-red. This gave me pause. For a moment, I thought these were perhaps two different sculptures, but the caption only further increased my confusion, since it was identical: “Sculpture. 1986. Painted metal. Haifa Technion.”

I wondered what to make of the sculpture’s different hues: Is it possible that one of the images has been digitally altered? Or maybe, it so happens that someone decided to paint the sculpture that same year? And if it was indeed painted – why would anyone do that? And which of the two photos depicts the original sculpture? My inquiries turned up that there is no conclusive answer and it is impossible to determine that Shemi authorized the painting of the sculpture. One option is that the Technion’s custodian painted it to protect it from rust or wear. But the matter remained a mystery. This was my starting point...

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