Israeli artist Nir Hod once told Interview Magazine, his greatest discovery was that “it’s not easy getting older.” In his painting series “Genius,” Hod pulls at the tension between childhood and adulthood and breaks open a space in between innocence and inurement. His images are of young children smoking cigarettes and looking at the viewer with expressions of disdain, arrogance and suspicion. Though there is certainly an element of dark humor in dressing rosy-cheeked toddlers in rich fabrics and endowing them with sweeping hair, the paintings are disquieting for their ability to reflect one’s now-corrupted inner child back unto him.
The paintings hang together, creating a school of contemptuous children. However, their individual conceit produces a profound feeling of loneliness, of superiority and alienation. One cannot gaze at these paintings for long. The expressions of the children pain the viewer and undoubtedly isolate them from their other hanging peers.