Sharone Lifschitz


Smiling at You
Sharone Lifschitz: Works 2000–2014

Since the turn of the millennium, Sharone Lifschitz (born in Israel, 1971; lives in London) has created a compelling body of work that addresses the themes of memory, identity, and language. Employing a range of media, Lifschitz investigates the relationship that we have with our individual and collective pasts and explores multifaceted aspects of human interactions and the language that facilitates them. To that end, she has devised imaginative strategies for propelling herself into the world. Her tools include advertisements placed in newspapers in order to meet people; and systematic journeys undertaken by train, bus, and Underground. Traveling has brought her into contact with a variety of people as she seeks “the perfect encounter.” The ensuing conversations have provided Lifschitz with the raw material for much of her art. Along the way, she has made use of everyday activities—traveling, eating, sleeping, talking—as the means for making art and understanding the world.

Text plays a crucial role in Lifschitz’s art as a vehicle for communication. Yet letters also function as found objects—sculptural and graphic elements that can be meaningful or nonsensical, evocative, and abstract. Humor and a playful approach to language are hallmarks of Lifschitz’s art. In her hands, they help us to access a range of human emotions including inadequacy, estrangement, and fear of “the other.”

For Lifschitz, the personal and political are naturally intertwined: she uses the personal to access the political, as a means of addressing challenging subjects and intractable conflicts, withholding judgment in her desire to understand. She approaches every encounter with empathy, whether it takes place between strangers, acquaintances, or members of a family. As one of her conversation partners noted: “And of course it helps that you smile.”

Text: Emily D Bilski