מחזור הציורים בירקנאו של גרהרד ריכטר נולד ממפגשו של האמן הגרמני עם צילומים שצילמו אסירים במחנה ההשמדה אושוויץ-בירקנאו. ארבעת הציורים המופשטים של ריכטר, שנוצרו לאחר שנים של עבודות הכנה, הושלמו בשנת 2014. בשנת 2016 פגשתי את ריכטר בסטודיו שלו כדי לדון ביצירה זו. במרכז שיחתנו עמדה השאלה האם ניתן לייצג את השואה באומנויות. הספר Zeichnungen / רישומים מביא שירים שכתבתי לפני ואחרי המפגש עם גרהרד ריכטר לצד עבודות ממחזור רישומים בשם 40 יום. השירים נכתבו בעברית ואז תורגמו על ידי לגרמנית. גרהרד ריכטר בחר ברישומים הכלולים בספר זה וצימד אותם לשירים.


Gerhard Richter and Amir Eshel

Gerhard Richter’s cycle Birkenau emerged out of an artistic engagement with photographs taken by prisoners in the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. The four abstract paintings, created after years of preparatory work, were completed in 2014. In 2016, I met Richter in his studio to discuss this work. At the center of our conversation was the question of whether and how the Shoah could be represented in the arts. Zeichnungen / רישומים brings the poetry I wrote before and after my encounter with Gerhard Richter alongside drawings from the artist’s cycle 40 Tage. The poems were written in Hebrew and then translated by me into German. Gerhard Richter has chosen the drawings included in this book and paired them with the poetry.


“Amir Eshel’s path in poetry is extraordinary. As a young poet, he was a protégé of Tuvia Rübner. In 1990, he published several promising poems in the magazine ‘Igra’ (אגרא) edited by Natan Zach. As a Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Stanford University, he continued to write poetry and translate from Hebrew into German and vice versa.

In 2018, his poetry emerged from this long ‘latency period’ ripe and complete, like a spectacular flower that appeared overnight, in a paraphrase of Yehuda Amichai’s poem, which practiced all summer patient, in the soil to flourish, all the while gaining strength. Eshel’s book of poetry, Drawings (Zeichnungen/רישומים), which was then published in a bilingual Hebrew-German edition, is an extraordinary dialogue in quality and sensitivity with the works of the renowned German painter Gerhard Richter, who presented a selection of his drawings in the book.

The book Between Deserts (בין מדבר למדבר) expands the canvas unfolded in Drawings, presenting an impressive body of work, placing Eshel on a par with the poets of his generation, albeit from a unique position: the position of the Hebrew language and culture. From this point of view, the prolonged latency period parallels the geographical distance from which the poems were written: both are the medicine necessary for creation, in the words of James Joyce. Like most of Eshel’s poetry, the present book is structured in cycles, comparing a wealth of perspectives to experiences and feelings shaped in it in a constant movement between cultures and worlds so different and yet close, in love, in the wounds of the lover.”

Dr. Giddon Ticotsky