By Harry Thorne
A mint-green boy lingers on a river’s lip with a bottle of milk. A rose-pink woman bends double on a bench, her hanging legs the tail of a pilcrow. A shop-front is coloured with deep rubs of green, red, blue, its vaulting windows opening onto darkness. In white, its signage reads: LIBIDOS. Why does the boy need calcium? Why does the woman bow? Whose passions lurk in the shadows?
Tal R has previously termed such painted fragments kolbojnik, a Yiddish word for the garbage bins that collect waste food at kibbutzim, and they litter his vast retrospective at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, ‘Academy of Tal R’. Amongst the two-storey shelves of canvases that ring the first room, we peep a showering woman, a cubist staircase leading nowhere and a mess of furniture blockading a room. Figures are reticent: they walk away, turn their backs, sit at a remove and ebb beneath roughly applied tints. We meet our mint boy, again and again.
Image: Tal R, Pyjamas, 2011