Speaking all night, by Impidicus
Oil on Linen, 57 x 76 cm
Ofir Hirsh, 2005

“What the fuck is that?” I asked my girlfriend perplexed. I was gazing back and forth between her eyes and the object we bumped into, on the jungle’s grassy floor. “Don’t touch it!” my girlfriend exclaimed, and then continued…”It’s crazy…someone is pulling our legs, I’m telling you, and if not, it’s a freaky tiny alien, but it definitely looks like a penis to me, and don’t tell me I’m a pervert.” We both laughed, but still kept some distance, just in case it is an alien and it wants to bite us or something. After the initial shock, we examined it well and agreed that quite amazingly this whitish ‘thing’ resembles the human male sexual organ when erected. We didn’t have a camera with us, so we decided to search the internet once we are back home.
In the evening we conducted a thorough search that included all the Penis terms we were familiar with, and we eventually found images which resembled the “creature” we met. We learned that it is a mushroom, and that a Swedish Botanist who documented it in the 18th century was also quite in shock to discover it, and he named it the “shameless dick” or in Latin: “Phallus Impudicus”. I was obviously very amused by this name and personally always felt empathy towards shameless people, so quite naturally I began signing my paintings as Impidicus, mistakenly switching the U in the middle with I. Being Impidicus made me think a lot about the concept of shame in general. What is shame? Why do we need it? Perhaps societies need it in order to survive…Why are we ashamed of our nudity? How come we were all born naked, but being naked in the beach is considered not polite or illegal in most places? I still think about it today and feel quite lucky that as an artist I have the legitimacy of dealing with nudity in my work. As an artist and a father, who sees the beauty of our own physical nature, I sometimes find it hard to explain to my young kids, why do we all need to cover ourselves up.

A conscious female, by Impidicus
Oil on Linen, 46 x 43 cm
Ofir Hirsh, 2005