Oil on materials
Born in Poland in 1946. Art studies in Jerusalem and Paris.
Graduated from the Academy of Art and Design "Betzalel"
in Jerusalem and from the national superior School of Decorative
Arts in Paris (Majored in visual communication and graphic arts).
Received the "Sharet Foundation Scholarship (1973) and the
French Government Scholarship for artistic creation (1974-1976).
Collaborated on the creation of industrial models for the glass
Creation of animated commercials (1975).
Typographic development and illustration of art books (Les Impenitents).
His work of art can be found in several private and national
collections (National Library of Paris, The Tours Museum, Art
Museum of Israel, Jerusalem).
At present involved in the search for new patterns of ceatin
in the field of computerized infography.
Oil on materials
Tali Tamir - Critic and contemporary art curator, Israel
Richard Bilan paints and tells a story at the same time. His
published last year in Poland (it is written in polish, his mother
sheds light on the conography he developed during the three decades
work as an artist in the plastic arts. His is a world of human
types, mostly marginal characters, depicted with poetic sensitivity,
creating a rich web of short scenes and fragmented imagery, with
narrative discourse. It is a world of reminiscences of days begone,
Poland, reminding specific characters : father, mother, characters
of the close
vicinity, depicted with a virtuoso perception of their universally
features, through their gestures, facial expressions, even grimaces;
even say: through word and sound. It is the encounter of child
s world, gone
and never to return, with all the nuances of French grace and
Richard Bilan was born in 1946, to assimilated Jewish parents
survived the Holocaust. He came to Israel in 1969 and graduated
Graphic Arts Department of the Bezalel Academy of Arts, in Jerusalem.
an outstanding students, he won a grant which enabled him to
Paris, where he now lives and works. All those peregrinations
contributed to his personal style where contradicting influences
the one hand, an East European tradition of popular narrative
art; on the other, the interinalization of the rich French tradition
which emphazises aesthetic and pictorial values based on colour
brush strokes and superposition of layers of colour, while paying
attention to the chromatic and textual fabric.
The tension thus generated between the narrative, which tends
expression of human activity together with individual feelings,
tendency of abstract painting toward universal generalisation
as well as
optimal equilibrium of the composition, endows Bilan's paintings
kind of unrest which bursts through the chromatic harmony and
textual fabric. There is also more then a touch of humour and
breaking thus the "sacrality" of the pictorial frame,
establishing instead, and
against the inner energy of the picture, a somewhat grotesque
caricatural features, albeit personal.
Richard Bilan began his career as a painter through the graphic
drawing; first as an engraver - on wood and copper. These two
which by nature are close to the world of books and storytelling,
him to develop a personal and, indeed, magic iconography with
angels as well as wetched drunkards. The storytelling dimension
work glides thus, more and more, towards a world of imagination
legend : palaces, circuses and various types of clowns suddenly
among his characters.
His pencil sketches and colourful aquarels based on them, created
a flow of
theatrical scenes, harlequinesque situations and erotic characters
depicted with a spontaneous and liberated stroke. The colourful
translucid, Iyric, magic, preserves the more childish and warm
Bilan's works; whereas his oil paintings, which developed later
integrate quite naturally the classic formula of western traditions
The same principles lie at the basis of Bilan's sculpture of
creating an indissoluble conjunction of the abstract and the
specific and the general; on the one hand, the serious, ponderous
of figurative sculpture; on the other, irony and humor expressing
themselves through the choice of the materials integrated into
composition of the characters. Both the metal scrap scultures
and those of
white linen soaked in plaster exploit the expressive power of
underlining the anticlassical features of the chracters : battered
utensils, teaspoons, pots and pans, old keys, broken cogwheels
fabrics soaked in white plaster, all build a frame of everyday
devoid of any sublime pathos. Those sculptures show always only
chracter, shaped with astonishing skill and retaining thus all
Recently, Bilan has engaged in new technique entwining sketch
sculpture by the means of relief paintings with characters made
fabrics (especially all kinds of jeans fabrics) and emerging
out of rich
The various attempts to find a thorough and unequivocal definition
notion of "Jewish art", were never very successful.
around two opposite elements which critics and scholars considered
of the Jewish weltanschaung: firstly, the human element, with
compelling respect for the sacred value of human life of all
men, be they
the most wretched and destitute; secondly and contrarily, the
element of denial of any physical representation, especially
that of the
image of man.
One may find such an expression of the human element in the works
Haim Soutine, the French Jewish painter. There, the human image
extended a position of central importance; not, of course, as
Renaissance humanistic entity endowed with rational and aesthetic
perfection; but instead, as an imperfect and faulty character,
to preserve its human dignity in spite of its defects, through
positioning within the pictorial frame. As for the abstract element,
it can be
found in monumental work of Mark Ruthko, the American painter
and, in a
even more dialectic way, in the contemporary works of the Israeli
Richard Bilan's paintings and sculptures carry a moral commitment
the marginal human character, deprived of its perfection and
kind of pathos; yet still preserving its human and empathic qualities.
warmth on his drawing, his extreme sensitivity to colourfulness,
sensuality of his stroke of paint, his vituosic elaboration of
the human body
by use of old household utensils, all bear testimony of Bilan's
retaining a humanistic vision which nourishes an artistic achievement
quality and human warmth.
[ Galerie Engel ]