The name Abeshaus was first known in the mid-70s, when he founded and headed the art group "Aleph," a circle of Jewish artists from Leningrad, and a part of the unofficial art stream in Brezhnev's time.
Their exhibitions were an immediate success. They were not only an artistic innovation but a political act of dissidence and independence as well. First, because the artists openly proclaimed their Jewishness and focused on Jewish themes, which was an act severely prohibited by the authorities and rejected by Socialist Realism. Second, they used an artistic language that was not accepted by the official style.
Following the exhibitions, Eugene and some of his colleagues were fired from work. In 1976 almost all the "Aleph" group emigrated to Israel or the USA.
In essence, Abeshaus always tended to use in his works a cycle of archetypal images, and creations of his own mythologies, which reflect the spirit of the time, seasoned by irony, parody, and mockery. In the early works of his Leningrad and Israeli periods, Abeshaus used biblical images like Adam and Eve, Judith, Jonah, Jacob, Daughters of Jerusalem, as eternal models of psychological qualities inherent in human nature. The aesthetic of those works was notably literary and concrete.
In his new cycle, Vanity of Vanities, some of the ideas that had originally attracted him find a new expression through an assembly of universal and more abstract images, signs and symbols, while the plastic language is largely determined by the influence of postmodernism.
The artist's palette also reflects the kitsch-stereotypes of mass culture: sharp color contrasts, lots of gold leaf, blobs of paint with metallic luster normally associated with industrial design and fashion accessories. All those are associated with the glitter of fake and imitations. However, the mastery of execution prevents all those kitsch-clichÈs from becoming stale and banal.
Alesia Voikoun, Curator, Zetlin Museum of Russian Art, Ramat-Gan