“For years, I focused my attention not on what people were saying, but rather on what they were not saying,” says Yehudit Sasportas
. The Israeli artist, who splits her time between Tel Aviv and Berlin, recalls that from an early age, she was drawn to the communicative power of the image. “I think that there was definitely a certain stage when I became interested in the image or sign and one’s ability to express oneself as a human being in ways other than through the conventional tools of language,” she explains. And it was the image of a swamp in Germany—on the page of a periodical that caught her on a train ride many years ago—that has inspired some nine years of creativity, contemplation, and artistic output.
While for many the idea of the swamp conjures visions of stagnant water and haunting forest devoid of human life, Sasportas reveals it to be a hotbed of energy and life. It has become a site of investigation, inquiry, and pilgrimage for the artist. She’s been visiting one particular site in Germany for years, taking pieces of the swamp with her each time, physically and metaphorically channeling its essence and spirit into her art. A selection of these works, as well as her dynamic film The Light workers
(2010), features in the artist’s current exhibition “Vertical swamps
,” at Galleri Bo Bjerggaard in Copenhagen.
Each work—from explosive ink paintings and engravings to the enveloping film—communicates Sasportas’s deep connection to the swamp, and her ability as an artist to concentrate on a single subject and present it to viewers in a new light, in original, deeply emotional, and dynamic images. She represents not only the visual environment of the swamp, but the sounds and physical materials that comprise it. On the occasion of “Vertical swamps
,” we caught up with the artists to learn about her inspirations, her life between Berlin and Tel Aviv, and her time spent in the swamp.