Listening to the Shadows, Seeing them

In the ceiling of the distant room, in which he lies,
The listener, listening to the shadows, seeing them, 
Choosing out of himself, out of everything within him,
Speech for the quiet, good hail of himself, good hail,
The peaceful, blissful words, well - tuned, well - sung, well - spoken.

Wallace Stevens

The career of etcher, painter and sculptor Lihie Talmor – born Tel Aviv 1944 – spans over 30 years.
Her artistic initiation, by the hand of painter Pinchas Abramovich in 1977, was followed, three years later
in Venezuela, under the guidance of Walter Margulis. In 1981 she approached the graphic arts in the well-known CEGRA printer’s workshop. She has shown in more than 10 individual exhibitions in Caracas, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Bogotá and Barcelona, among other cities, and has been honored with many national and international awards, among them the most recognized of the Graphic Arts Biennials, such as those of Poland, Italy, Puerto Rico and Ibiza. Lihie Talmor is one of Venezuela’s most prolific and acknowledged contemporary artists.

The purpose of this exhibition was to present a selection of works belonging to the artists distinct creative periods, setting aside the traditional schedules of anthological or retrospective shows, to allow for a curatorial conceptualization of the artist’s work from an original perspective. This is why the selection sees past the inexhaustible subject of memory, ubiquitous in Talmor’s work, to bring forth an underlying theme, as is music. Music, not only in its strict, literary sense, but also read in a wider and more extended denotation.

Among her work we can find a series in homage to great pianist Vladimir Horowitz, another concocted from old photographs of musical boxes, and even noise and sound emitting sculptures. But also, and perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to observe the assortment of her work at once, brings it into view as a monumental suite, a sonorous tapestry a visual landscape crafted in shade and light, silence and quiver, where the most unimportant inanimate objects, the bleakest of places and the individuals in their intimacy, acquire a voice of their own in the harmonious resonance of a calm and recurrent melody.

The show - a selection of forty six etchings and one multidimensional large sculpture -  is seeking to present a free course, rather than a chronological or otherwise evaluative one. What surfaces is a free play of aesthetic connections that induce a “musical” journey – rhythmical and melodic – through the works.

In the mid 90s, alter establishing her name as etcher and later venturing into sculpture with a series of works that interwove “a grave harmony of paper and metal”[1], Lihie Talmor produced a sculptural project whose distinguishing feature was that it could be walked on. The piece's utmost temperance, made of sharp-angled metallic elements, is clearly connected to the spirit of musical experimentation found after World War I, which so shaped the (academic music) of the twentieth century. That which, according to Theodor Adorno, “does not heal the open wound” between men and their world and “before feigning reconciliation, would rather see itself shattered in pieces”[2]. This musical footprint, amid the graphic landscape of the artist’s trajectory, becomes a key to hearing and seeing over her creative chronicle.

Juan Carlos López Quintero
Presentation text from the catalog for the exhibition
Listening to the Shadows, Seeing them

Caracas -  San Juan,  2008.



[1] López Quintero, Juan Carlos., De dos o tres en una habitación, La Habana, Cuba, Mayo 1997.

[2] Adorno, Theodor W., Mahler. Una fisiognómica musical. Ediciones Peninsula. Barcelona, 2002. p.41.