The artist Paul Klee once said: “Art does not reproduce the visible; it renders visible.”
In my article "Mosaic Art is Fine Art," I wrote: "My own interpretation becomes the leading thread throughout my work. Each Stone has an imminent role: It can be a protagonist or antagonist. I am the director − but never entirely.
I find that mosaic composition is the exultation of translation. Mosaic, like translation, is a process of cultural adaptation. To be an interpreter, you relate to an anterior period; you process what you experienced in life.
When I write about where I come from, what I have learned, the fact that I have been travelling intensively and was exposed to various cultures − I become this individual who has a pool of information. The literary critic Walter Benjamin said: “All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.” This is not obvious, though; it requires work to bring interpretation skills forward.
Interpretation is like the fifth season in a year, the eighth day in a week. It is that something that goes beyond the visible; something that strikes the artist’s perception and leads him or her to create, while perceiving in a new light.
Interpretation becomes the artist’s distinctive personal version of a scene, a thought, an issue, an observation.
Thus, interpretation is a quality to nurture as it brings stunning results.
I have chosen to delve into the interpretation of two photographs:
Sophie and Moshe
My childhood friend came to me with a photograph of her and her husband at their debut, when their relationship was just beginning.
The most particular part of the photograph was the middle of the picture: the presence at its centre of a drinking glass, held by the man. The eyes of the couple converge on the glass. They don't look at each other; they look at each other through the glass. The glass is a sort of catalyst.
I felt that this unusual meeting spot had to be cultivated. Somewhat like a gardener, I planted flowers and leaves to express their growing love.
In the picture, the couple’s eyes are looking down. But I deeply feel that, with the appearance of this growing plant, it is as if they are actually lifting their eyes and looking at each other. Here, the interpretation is an envisioned and sensorial addition to their love story.
Sophia and Moshe
Sophie and Moshe - The Mosaic
Rules are common in the World of Art. However, I feel that when interpretation and freedom of expression lead, the rules may be put aside.
This work represents Martin Luther King Jr. addressing his nation, delivering his “I have a dream” speech during the March on Washington.
I would like to highlight three ideas (although there are many more) that I captured in this work, and that reflect the specific moment when this photograph was taken.
His colored face: Since black people are considered colored people, I had no dilemma in gathering a pool of eight colors for the depiction of Martin Luther King Jr.’s skin. The expression of this multitude of colors on his face and hand is my interpretation of his ambition, his passion for his own beliefs. He had an immense talent for putting words together, and although he was talking about his own conditions and the conditions of his peers, he was not only addressing America − he was addressing the globe. To me, it felt like many colors were flowing in his veins, as he was very strong in his beliefs and dreams.
The background: I deliberately created a background that is richly loaded and colorful, like Martin Luther King Jr.’s skin. My choice was to render a background that symbolizes the large numbers of viewers and listeners as something vivid and still imperceptible. There was a crowd present at his speech, but there was also a crowd that was way beyond the microphones. Not only a nation was concerned; the whole world was.
The double mouth: The large number of microphones could not depict the impact of MLK's lifetime speech; something beyond the visible had to appear. King wanted his speech to echo around the world. He had to bring his message forward. His voice had to be heard far beyond at the farthest frontiers. With this speech, King established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history. Two mouths reflect the impact that he wanted to make.
Here, my interpretation is metaphorical. It is the search for a personal interpretation of a very powerful moment. I could see in this photograph a moment of pure intensity and electricity.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Power of Interpretation In my artwork, I find it extraordinary and challenging to deal with something out of my sphere, and out of my time. Interpretation goes beyond frontiers, beyond years. And I invite you to give interpretation a legitimate place.