Liorah Tchiprout: Two Eyes Wide Open at the Edge of Dawn

December 01, 2023 - January 27, 2024

'I saw him for the first time at a gathering - two eyes wide open at the edge of dawn' - from First Time by Celia Dropkin, translated from Yiddish.

Liorah Tchiprout’s debut solo exhibition at Marlborough Gallery, Two Eyes Wide Open at the Edge of Dawn, explores new beginnings. The exhibition consists of paintings, monotypes and etchings, all portraits of subjects who gaze confidently at the viewer or who turn away lost in thought. The paintings, in muted colours punctuated with evocative pinks, yellows and reds, mark the dawn of the artist as a painter on a much larger scale than before.

Expressions of sorrowful longing and self-assuredness are performed by the artist’s cast of “players” as if on stage. These are dolls she makes in her studio, which are used as models in her paintings and prints. Tchiprout also includes other objects from her studio as set dressings - an orange orb lamp becomes the moon or the sun; a corn bunting bird becomes a skylark sharing knowledge and marking the passing of time; the artist’s dog becomes a guardian of safety. 

While less descriptive of the content of the paintings themselves, the titles reflect the inner lives of the sitters. Their thoughts, feelings and desires are expressed through excerpts from songs and poetry. 

The exhibition’s title is from a poem by Celia Dropkin and is in keeping with the artist’s love of Yiddish women writers. They are often thematically linked through cultural references and explorations of the interior experience of womanhood. Artist references and influences include Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, R. B. Kitaj, Charlotte Salomon and Celia Paul.

"Some of the monotypes were made as studies for paintings, exploring some of the same ideas through different processes" - Liorah Tchiprout
Installation View

"Yiddish poetry and puppetry inspire this powerful figurative artist. In her first solo show, Tchiprout exhibits prints and paintings in which melancholy female characters move as if under the control of outside forces. In fact they are portraits of the artist’s puppets."

Tchiprout, Leave them laughing when you go, 2023, etching, 64 x 48.7cm, 25 1-8 x 19 1-8in, ed. 2 of 14, 317223

"London-based artist Liorah Tchiprout uses words, phrases and lines from poetry – “the anchor to the world” – as inspiration for her paintings, monotypes and etchings. Two Eyes Wide Open continues the theme: the exhibition consists of a series of portraits of women caught deep in thought. The works’ titles, which have been taken from songs and poetry, have been selected to reflect the women’s inner lives."

- Elizabeth Gregory

Tchiprout, As long as I haunt your heart, 2023, monotype on somerset textured paper in 'newsprint', 37.2 x 31.7cm, 14 5-8 x 12 3-8in

"Inspired by her Jewish heritage, puppetry and the experiences of women, the artist discusses her show Two Eyes Wide Open at the Edge of Dawn at Marlborough Gallery."

Liorah Tchiprout in her studio

"If the figures in Liorah Tchiprout’s paintings appear unsettlingly unreal - an awkward position here, an offbeat proportion there - it is because they are. The models in Tchiprout’s exquisite paintings are dolls she has created in her studio, adding a childlike innocence to the figures disconcertingly at odds with their expressions"

- Hannah Silver

Tchiprout, I washed my hands of the stuff of legends, 2023, oil on board, 80 x 60cm, 31 3-8 x 23 -2in, 317092