Chinese X Jewish cultures

Absurdity Tsat – The swear word series


Dimension: 150 x 150cm

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

Year of Completion: 2017

“Absurdity Tsat” is inspired by the film “Raise the Roof (2015)” documenting the story of a 10 year project to reconstruct a replica of the mural-covered Gwozdziec synagogue in Poland, and its final installation at the new POLIN Museum in Warsaw. The artist attempted to connect herself to the artists who designed the original mural. During contemplation, she has come up with a few questions: “What did the people have in their mind while “praying” at the synagogue? Can I revive the spirit of the Yiddish speaking community in my work?  How do I relate the Eastern European history to my Cantonese-speaking society?” The reflections are echoed in her colourful acrylic work: decorative motifs are sex related symbols; the holy Hebrew blessing is replaced by a Yiddish slang meaning “If grandma had balls she would be grandpa” (Ven di bobe zol hobn eyer volt zi geven a zeyde ווען די באבע זאל האבן אייער וואלט זי געווען א זיידע). the character in the center pronounced as “Tsat” is a Cantonese swearword meaning testicle. Yiddish and Cantonese simultaneously appeared in her painting as these two colourful languages are struggling to survive due to political circumstances, while slangs and swearwords reflect the daily life of the real people.  Lastly, the sex symbols are used to express her frustrations of the patriarchy presence in both the traditional Chinese and Jewish life.  The world is ugly absurd, to repair it, we need a beautiful absurdity.  The artist expects her audience to see the divine madness in this work.


This entry was posted on February 15, 2019 by in Paintings.

© Carol Man 文頴恩 2014 – 2022