Article from Marek Yanai catalogue , Mayanot Gallery, September 2004
I first met Marek in 1966 as a classmate in Bezalel. He immediately attracted my attention as on unusual and, even then, a clearly talented personality. In the 35 years that I have followed his work, I am constantly amazed. He is a man born without sin, a man of truth and integrity. He has on uncommon courage, rare in a time , in which everybody surrenders to the foreign fashions that seem to proliferate like mushrooms after the rain. The Israeli art establishment has become a standard-bearer of those fashions and world-views, and incomprehensibly- has cultivated them, despite their complete lack of connection with Israeli culture, and the Israeli reality and ethos.
I ask myself: where does this man get the strength to stand so rock-firm against the turgid tide of those dictates of fashion? It is a measure of the man, of his internal honesty and truth, his modesty and humility. This is what gives him the ability to discover the beauty and wonder of every thing under the sun. Unlike others, Marek does not paint Marek. Marek himself does not exist: he paints what is outside himself. The ability to see “the other” stems from and is dependent upon the ability to negate the self.
That is the source and the secret of the greatness of Marek’s work. When you look at one of Marek’s paintings, what you see is nothing more than the picture he wanted to show. No shadow of the artist himself lies across it. The work is innocent of any “right to express oneself” or “a way to express oneself.” There is no ego, no self in sight.
The beauty to which Marek’s paintings expose the viewer is conveyed as through a crystal: radiant, clear and pure. It may be said that the technical standards and spiritual qualities of Marek Yanai’s work can compare with those of the great artists of all time, and his painting will undoubtedly remain as a permanent legacy of Israeli art. If it were up to me, I would forbid his works being taken abroad!
As a friend, I want to express my gratitude to Marek, both as a person and as an artist, for lighting our way, like a lighthouse guiding a craft to safe haven in a storm.
All power to you, Marek.
Dany Kafri, 2004