Kadishman is a painter and sculptor and was born in Tel Aviv in 1932. When he was 15 years old, his father died and he quit school to help support his family. He had a brief stint in the army and was also a shepherd. You’ll see these influences over and over again in his work.
In Isreal every able bodied man and woman is required after high school to serve 2 -3 years in the Isreali army. When Kadishman’s son’s time came up, he was stricken with fear and anxiety. He created “The Sacrifice of Isaac” as an anti-war piece and also a cry for victims. To send your child to die is like killing yourself. Your child is part of your essence that survives you. He has made many different versions of this piece in his life and even staged the scene with his son for George Segal.
For the Jewish Museum in Berlin Kadishman created this installation. Since 1997 it has grown piece by piece and now has around 10,000 sculptures. Hand cut, when a finger is drawn across the edges, the faces groan and cry. When they are walked over, this is what they sound like:
Visitors are confronted with the piece, they are forced to walk over it, and though they try to be careful as they tread over the pained faces, their cries continue to pervade the air.
Though he had given such voice to the voiceless, at 73 he feels he has done nothing to change things.
Geniuses rarely find satisfaction in their work.