Group Exhibition | Kishon Gallery
1.3.11 – 4.4.11
What is Your Story?
“All classes, all human groups, have their narratives, enjoyment of which is very often shared by men with different, even opposing, cultural backgrounds… narrative is international, transhistorical, transcultural: it is simply there, like life itself.”
Roland Barthes, Image-Music-Text (1977:79)
Based on the universal human need for narratives and stories to process our own experiences and to elaborate new concepts, Story Slam aspires to examine the connection between image, text and the narrative created out of the complex relations between them: What story, one of many, an image can tell us?
Let us consider an artwork: it is an abstract idea traansformed into a physical object. Fragments of messages, pieces of sentences and an assortment of words – a literal vision is translated into a visual article through a long term practical process. The outcome is an image, necessarily holds a story within it. But what is the nature of that story? Is there only one story? And if so, who produces it? Is it the artist? The viewer? Maybe both?
“Something is definitely going on there”, the viewer will surely think to himself while watching Keren Shpilsher’s drawing Little Red Riding Hood, Hinda Weiss’ photograph Brother and Sister, or Avraham Simchi’s paint Nelson Nelson. Without a shadow of a doubt, each and every one of the artworks in Story Slam treasures an occurrence, and it is the viewer’s business to narrate it.
As the quote above establishes, the power of the narrative is that it is everywhere and open for everyone. This aspect is extremely explicit in Story Slam. Whereas the artist desires to convey a certain narrative or narratives, the viewer, aloof, interprets the image that is in front of his eyes according to his own personal background (whether sociological, cultural etc) and unique life experiences so as accumulative knowledge. The story, therefore, is born out of this one time interaction between a viewer, a work of art and inner-linkages it sustains with other exhibited artworks.
In that manner, this exhibition turns the tables; Being if they are the words of someone else, a poem, a citation, or otherwise: a thread of thoughts articulated by the artist himself – each artist was asked to accompany the artwork with a written text. This coerced simple act actually led all artists, consciously or not, to open a small window – a peephole into their soul – and to reveal intimate aspects of their own personal narrative. By doing so, those artists taking part in this exhibition allow the spectator to adopt a certain narrative – one that is offered by that given combination of visual and textual. If the viewer chooses to do so or not, is yet a different story.
From classic oil on canvas to street art techniques on a found frame; from figurative to complete abstract; from the explicit to the implicit – Story Slam exhibition is very diverse. It includes painting, drawing and photography by experienced and established artists alongside recently graduated emerging ones as well as by longtime Israeli residents alongside new immigrants. Together they create a colorful heterogeneous assemblage, representing the story of this place. Tel Aviv, Israel, 2011.
The participating artists are:
Rimma Arslanov, Naama Cappon, Gili Cohen, Mali De-Kalo, Oum Kultuv, Ilya Medvedev, Roy Mordechay, Michal Orgil, Michel Platnic, Naama Rabinerson, Ayelet Riza-Doron, Keren Shpilsher, Arvraham Simchi, Noa Tavori, Arnon Tousia-Cohen, Hinda Weiss, Natalia Zourabova.
Rimma Arslanov, Our latest Exhibition at the Kishon Gallery – 16 December 2010 – 21 January 2011.
Arslanov sculpts and paints robotic “dwarfs” who perform ludicrous “etudes” of terror on plates of concrete and in between hard, gloomy concrete walls. They run around, fight, fall, rise, crash, shoot and “weep”. Here and there one of them aims a gun – a wooden fork used for fast food – at an unknown target. Others don’t require a gun – with explosive belts strapped to their waists or backpacks on their backs, they ram each other headfirst. At times they idly lean against either side of a concrete separation wall and wait. It is immediately evident to the observer that the design and positioning of these images stand in complete contrast to their violent gestures. The satirical situations created by Arslanov rule out any possibility of compassion or sympathy, and leave us with an alienation that provides for the comic effect. Arslanov undoubtedly does not create her art out of righteous fury. The miniaturization of the images, their careful positioning and the playful, parodizing slant she imbues them with, establish their maker as an agent of moral judgment, humor and a sense of play. (shulamit shaked)
Rimma in her sculptures and pictures reflects the naive humor figures, which reminds us all the first computer games, with their partly war partly fun experience.
The ‘Ariel Sharon’ Exhibition by artist Noam Braslavsky, Has received worldwide acclaim, interest from a wide spectrum of curators, collectors and museums, and global media attention. It is currently showing in the Kishon Gallery (http://www.kishongallery.com) untill the 27 of November 2010. (CNN , New York Times, Independent UK, BBC )
“You do not believe these rough reproductions… but they remind you of something; something that you already know. This was precisely what an image should do. The correct function of an image was not primarily to represent something in a visually convincing way but rather to refer to something the Word or the dogma – as a sign to remind one of it” Hanne Kolind Poulsen, “Melchior Lorcks at the court of Frederik II 1582”, Denmark 2006
Albeit insisting on the concrete, and concentrating on every detail of Ariel Sharon’s physical condition, Noam Breslawski’s work strives for the symbolic. Since suffering an aneurysm and going into coma in January 2006, Ariel Sharon is no longer with us and yet still present. His hanging between life and death does not allow us to let go of him, but nor can he live among us. On one hand his state is similar to that of Menachem Begin who retired from public life and avoided contact with the outside world – but unlike Begin, Sharon did not choose this. On the other hand, the sudden halt of his political activity resembles the empty void left by Rabin who was murdered while serving his term as Prime Minister.
In the beginning of his “18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”, Karl Marx cites Hegel as saying that all great world-historic facts and personages appear twice, and adds: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Sharon’s departure from Israeli politics may be experienced as tragedy, but as opposed to the totality and finality of Rabin’s assassination, Sharon’s absent-presence is experienced as a farce – as if he may return at any moment. The fact that Sharon as a Prime Minister was widely accepted by large portions of the Jewish Israeli population, has bestowed on his successors the image of stand-ins. The ghost of his return continues to influence the way the political leadership is perceived. The image of the leader who is no more, but is still here, reappears again and again – so alive is this spirit that in recent months, a Neo-Zionist movement HaSmol HaLeumi” (The National Left) started a campaign in which the `92 elections poster for the Labor Party, “Israel is Waiting for Rabin” was reprinted.
Sharon may be gone from politics, but remains ever-present and influential in our political imagination. He continues to hold a political office as a sort of ancestor to be followed, whether as successors or as opponents – to be awed by, hated or admired. Journalist Ben Kaspit put it in a typical plain speech: “The Prime Minister is the father of us all”. Like a monarch, he is the father of all his subjects – and his body is the embodiment of sovereignty – which is why the French Revolution sought the physical death of the king, the elimination of his body, which embodied sovereignty. The government, with its privileged power to kill, became heir to the king’s throne.
Sharon’s still breathing and beating body is an allegory for the Israeli political body – a dependent and mediated existence, self-perpetuated artificially and out of inertia, with open eyes that cannot see.
The inability to part from what is lost, is the hallmark of melancholy. While the assassination of Rabin has a definite day of mourning marked on the calendar, Sharon’s absence has not been settled by mourning and therefore remains present day to day. And so, the biggest and nearly the only attempt to establish a commemoration of Sharon itself seems like a farce: The rechristening of Hiriya landfill as “Sharon Park”. The park’s website announces that “Sharon Park turns the site of Hiriya, for years used as the ‘back yard’ and ‘trash can’ of the metropolitan area, into the front yard and display window of Gush Dan and all of Israel. This is the vision behind ‘Ariel Sharon Park’. From garbage dump – into a green belt. From environmental hazard – into a national asset that will project to the world the new face of Israel”. The park’s promotional text reads like a farce that might have been written on Ariel Sharon’s own figure – veteran of Alexandroni Brigade and special forces Unit 101, the father of the settlements who was barred from ever again serving as Defence Minister after the Sabra and Shatila massacre, the engineer of the refugee camps’ destruction, the instigatorof the unilateral “disengagement plan” from the Gaza Strip and the eviction of its settlements – a figure controversial for most of his political career, he who only at the end of the prior decade was a political outcast, now becomes the display window.
Hanging between life and death, Sharon does not relent. This public exhibition allows a “pilgrimage” within his lifetime. Noam Breslawski exhibits in Kishon Gallery a visiting space containing Sharon’s hospital bed, life sized. In keeping with the binding rules of limited visits of up to three visitors a time, passage restricted to a marked trail and staying quiet, a guard allows individual visitors to go in and see Sharon’s figure lying in bed and breathing autonomously. The theatricality of pilgrimage to Sharon’s comatose body prompts the spectator to perform. The positioning has a destabilizing effect – this is not a provocative speculation in the likes of Maurizio Cattelan’s statue in which a comet strikes the Pope (“Il nona ora”, 1999). Here the provocative speculation is the location of the visitor space and not the condition of the character. Berslawski’s modus operandi, by which the spectator’s very presence partakes in the creation of the work of art, is what the artist calls a “user activated journey”. The spectator’s participation in the ritual makes them an active part of the work in the exhibition space. Their appearance with and in front of other spectators is what establishes the ritual. In this way, a happening occurs around the object, which provides the core of Breslawski’s artistic act.
For the Pharaohs, Walt Disney, Lenin in the Red Square and Kim Il-Sung in Kumsusan Palace of North Korea, commemoration is a launch toward eternity as well as a denial of death. Advanced technologies allowing us to postpone death are already in daily use – from the attempt to erase time via plastic surgery, botox and facelifts and to resuscitation devices – now, Orange County California and Pyongyang are joined with Ariel Sharon’s “Mausoleum” where the exhibition becomes the agent of commemoration.
The very visibility of Sharon’s body creates a political space of appearance. Through its insistence on convincing elements and details, in the morbid spirit of a wax museum, the exhibit enables us to rethink the political. The displaying of Sharon’s body, which up until today was stashed away in one of the hospital’s internal wards (and will soon be transferred to his ranch “Havat Shikmim”), immediately alters the surrounding reality. The provocative aspect of Noam Berslawski’s work does not consist in incidental speculation, but in the actual public outing of a corporeal manifestation of the political body. (from the exhibition text of Joshua Simon )
My last post was long ago before summer vacation, so some updates for the last three months which were full of interesting projects.
Grobman by Kollektiv
The Israeli artist and poet Michail Grobman immigrated to Israel from Moscow in 1971. Grobman is the only representative of the Second Russian Avant-Garde (the most progressive art movement in the USSR during that period, with artists such as Illya Kabakov, Erik Bulatov and others) who decided to settle in Israel, and immediately gained attention, appreciation and even a solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. But, true to his way, he later consciously put himself at an opposition to the local art scene. Grobman’s action paradoxically connects various cultural traditions, and his ideas represent a critical outlook on the state of global art, and in particular on the development of Israeli art. These choices explain Grobman’s unique situation within the local art sphere, a uniqueness which raises discourse. As part of the “Grobman” project, the participating group of artists copy Grobman’s paintings with a maximal level of accuracy, but use fluorescent colours that glow in Ultraviolet lighting. The use of these materials locates Grobman’s elitist attitudes towards both ideology and aesthetics in a context of psychedelic pop culture, and thus opens new options for interpretation and an intriguing mixture of appreciation and irony with respect to the past. The “Grobman” exhibition is a project of the “Collective” group, as a hommage to the artist it brings about a conceptual practice of “appropriation art”. It raises the issue of the creator’s uniqueness and the value of the original work in an era of technical copying. The decision to take this approach stems from the desire to internally connect with Grobman’s work, to walk step-by-step in his path while letting go of the self-expression (a practice that is unknown to us in a hommage exhibitions), and as a result to create a sort of retrospective exhibition that in fact has no original works. The personal of each artist represents itself in brief and concise moments.
– – –
Exhibition opened 17.07.10 – 13.08.10 at Kishon Gallery
Participants: Max Epstein, Irina Birger, Giyora Bergel, Natasha Brilliantova, Arcadi Greenman, Marat Dusembaev, Natalia Zourabova, Dina Yakerson, Andrey Lev, Katia Lifshits, Tamir Lichtenberg, Max Lomberg, Liron Lupu, Anna Lukashevsky, Ido Michaeli, Vika Samoilova, Maria Pomiansky, Zoya Cherkassky, Tanya Kaganov, Masha Rubin, Alona Rodeh, Menashe Kadishman
Curator: Rufina Valsky | http://www.KishonGallery.com |
Grobman by Kollektiv | Andrey Lev | Zoya cherkassky | Anna Lukashevsky |
I was introduced to Maira books years ago by a friend, Since then she is my favorite Illustrator artist.
Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She has worked as a designer, author, illustrator and artist for more than thirty years without formal training. Her work is a narrative journal of her life and all its absurdities. She has written and illustrated twelve children’s books. She often illustrates for The New Yorker magazine. Sometimes it takes an illustrator artist to open my mind and heart. You can also enjoy her blog in the New York times ‘And the Pursuit of Happiness’
Zelig Segal, known as a first-class modern Judaica designer, who dealt a lot with minimalist sculpture in the 80s, abandoned both the design and the sculpture for intense color paintings in large formats (100×200 cm). The exhibition includes large works, in an abstract expressive style, from the last ten years.
This is the first time Sigalit Landau is Curating an exhibition, creating a fascinating path for the viewer to see Zelig Segal abstract works in the space designed especialy for this show by Dan Hasson. In the picture you can see Zelig Segals’ works and part of Sigalit Landau installation (detail). Sigalit Landau (b. 1969) exhibited all around the world, won in 1993 the JNF award, and going to present Israel in the 2011 Venice Biannale.
“Selig Segal cares about ethics no less than he cares about aesthetics,” ascertained Yigal Zalmona. The austere minimalism and his desire for an exposed concreteness that reveals the characteristics of material and form, his avoidance of any ornament or twist and his renouncement of color became what Zalmona identified as “the central values of a moral conception that guides Segal’s work.” The same austere, moral Segal whose guiding light is the “truth of matter” and who acknowledges the arbitrariness of the signified action, however, gazed at the Modernist ethos from both ends and transformed the moral equation. Modernism’s duality – simultaneously attracted to progress and the future and longing for the primitive and the native, acknowledging both austerity and expressivity – lead Segal to view meaning and liberty as equal poles in one equation: diametric oppositions of authentic gestures maintaining their connection to a basis of absolute internal truth.
The later Segal, now in his 80’s, continues to long to the “secrets” of matter, as Zalmona put it; but the material itself has been replaced: no longer wood, paper or metal, but masonite, paint and pigment. Not dry, hard materials, but rather moist, fluid ones. Not a solid object that offers resistance, but a flexible, yielding mixture… Segal remains well within the confines of the abstract language. He is also still true to a stock of recurring actions, still an avid Modernist in search of a kernel of truth. But rather than surveying Modernism from the heights of its disciplined purity, as he did before, Segal has opted in his later years for a space of internal liberty with whose force he vacillates freely between momentous pictorial associations, devoting himself to the one element that had been left out of his works’ scope, namely color.
Segal – the elegant and stylized designer and the conscious, minimalist sculptor – seems to be a man who has left the body of knowledge of the skilled craftsman and the rules under which he was educated behind him, entering a space of unknown adventure beyond time and profession. He seems to belong to a select few artists whose old age allows for internal liberty rather than a rehearsal of imitation and reproduction mechanisms. The audacity of freedom and the ability to arrive at it effortlessly imbue the later chapter of his work with a strength and freshness immeasurable by such period brands as ‘postmodernism’ or ‘the return to painting’. (Tali Tamir, in the catalog’s text)
New show at the Kishon gallery, opened in Jaffa Port, 23 April – 8 May.
Argentinian artist Tomas Saraceno exhibited his work ‘galaxies forming along
filaments, like droplets along the strands of a spider’s web’ as part of the making worlds exhibition in the 53rd Venice Biannale.
Saraceno’s interest in architectural projects is part of the artist’s ongoing fascination
with utopian theories and astronomical constellations. He is now showing also in the Tate in a special project; Rising to the Climate Challenge, Artists and Scientists Imagine Tomorrow’s World. Opening Friday 19 March 2010. Can’t get enough of his fascinating installations.