An article by Meir Ronen (1982): Eternally displaced.
 The Jerusalem Post Magazine, Fri day, Feb. 19th.

Once upon a time there were artists who told us a story; the "literary" content of their work was one of its more important components. Since then art has become increasingly occupied with itself: the subject of a work of art has become how it is done. What has survived of socially or politically oriented art has become dehumanized and sterile and we are rarely moved by it.

 It is all the more surprising to enter Yefim Ladizhinsky's Second Israeli show and to be bowled over by the personal bitterness that wells out of the images in it, the bitterness of the eternally displaced person. Ladizhinsky was born in Odessa 70 years ago and until he came here, in 1978,

he pursued a successful career in Russia as a painter and theatre designer. He was the only new arrival from Russia to be given a show at the Israel Museum (1979) a remarkable series of semi-naive but marvelously painted canvases depicting life (mostly Jewish) in Odessa during the twenties .His current show occupies all four galleries of this huge venue and is divided into four parts. "Mama" 1947-68, consists of virtuoso drawings and watercolours of his aged mother, probably the finest works of their type ever seen here. The watercolour of his mother of his mama crocheting is one of the best academic watercolour I have ever seen; the technique is masterly, the feeling for flesh and textiles superb. "The Carcasses" (skeletons?), 1976-78, which immediately preceded his aliya [immigration], are allegoric-symbolic fantasies in close line; they reek of alienation, from Christian symbols, among others. "Roots", 1980-81, drawings in a similar technique but with color added, express his preoccupation with finding a literal symbol (trees) for his coming here, but they lack conviction. It is not hard to see why when one turns to the spiritual center of the shaw "The Eternal Jew", 1979-81, canvasses in which Ladizhinsky appears over and over again as the artist crucified, or in the mourning in his own casket beneath the Knesset, or pierced to the heart with an arrow, naked a la St. Sebastian. A series of self-portraits are suspended from the points of a Russian star in one work and from those of a Magen David in another, with all heads crossed out . rejected there, rejected here, the artist seems to be saying.

The less autobiographical pictures are equally striking: Chagall's Rabbi with the Tora, suspended upside down in the sea of Arab headcloths, or on a trial before an eternal tribunal headed by the czar and flanked by Lenin and Stalin and their successors. It is a tribute to the power of these pessimistic images that we hardly pouse to look into the many passages of fine painting that have gone into most of these works, particularly the Rabbi and the marvellously harmonized portrait of the artist as an arrow struck martyr.

The sad message of this show seems to be: you can't win. It has nothing to do with the spirit that has kept Judaism alive or which built up this country. The artist's self-pitying view is an intensely personal one, perhaps the result of his being "ignored" by the authorities (prominent artists in Russia are given official positions and pensions to much) or being sent to live in a shikun box among people whose language he refuses to cope with. But out of the gloom and alienation have come some remarkably moving, intensely personal paintings .