Toni Hildebrandt in conversation with Menashe Kadishman
Tel Aviv, 1-6 June 2012
T.H.: I think a good way to start talking about your work, the process of its making and your thinking as an artist would be to focus on one single image transfer from a found photograph to drawing and sculpture.
I am thinking about the photograph of a Dog eating a Dead Soldier in Sinai by Yasha Agor (fig. 3). It’s a photograph from 1956. Years later it became important in your work.
M.K.: I did drawings of this photograph, to transfer the meaning of the image, but these were already images of memories from what I saw in my own lifetime (fig. 4). I made the drawings, which are now in the British Museum in London, in 1985, some sculptural works even later, but the photograph is actually from 1956. I was in the war in 1956 and I remember very strange images from that time. I remember being on an empty road on the way to the canal in Egypt, airplanes were shooting at the camion buses; many soldiers and officers were wounded and killed. When they were killed, they were sitting like marionettes. I remember, in particular there was this one dead soldier lying in the field and his penis was swollen like a hand, it was all blown up in the hot air of the desert and because the penis doesn’t have a bone it started to move in the afternoon wind. When I saw this it was like a dog eating a steak.
Only later I saw this photograph you are talking about. I didn’t take the photo, but it was the real place where I was. I know the photographer and journalist Yasha Agor, a wonderful friend, and when I told him about my memories in the 1970s he showed me this picture.