Passage International No.2

David Mach, Heavy Duty, Installation at Hamumche Gallery, 1997, 50 Tons of Newspapers, 3 Shipping Containers, 500 Wood Plates, Installation View (1)

“Passage” International Art Encounters Project No.2  Nira Itzhaki The joint exhibition between the British artist David Mach and the Israeli artist Zadok Ben-David is the second in a series of international “Passage” encounters at the Chelouche Gallery for Contemporary Art. The project, which started in November 1996 in cooperation with Dr. Lóránd Hegyi, the director […]

The Slave Song

The artist Amir Nave inaugurates the new space of the Chelouche Gallery in Old Jaffa with the exhibition “The Slave Song”. Nave (48), Born in Be’er Sheva, lives and works now in Jaffa, Paris and York. The exhibition ”The Slave Song”, which will open on September 8, is the third part in a trilogy whose […]

Poetic Sun

Yadid Rubin, 'Untitled', 1995-2001, Oil on canvas, 130x130 cm

Link to text written by Nira Itzhaki (In Hebrew): ‘Yadid Rubin: The Last Eretz Israel Painter’

Rooms

Tomer Sapir, 'Mother of All Wheat (Amber)', 2014-2015, epoxy, wheat, box 12x30x20 cm

Eight Artists were invited to present their works at the exhibition ‘ROOMS’: Tal Amitai-Lavi, Nadav Weissman, Dana Yoeli, Shai Yehezkeli, Amir Naveh, Tomer Sapir, Assaf Rahat and Tal Shoshan. On this occasion new bodies of work are unveiled in various mediums and creative processes that are usually hidden from view.

Food Weave

The exhibition draws its inspiration from the idea of a “Food Weave”. The concept originates in the field of ecology and relates to different food chains that operate in nature and have diverse interactions among them. Plants and animals are food for other living things in different relationships of producers and consumers. The exhibition seeks […]

Make / Believe

Michal Chelbin, 'Maria', Ukraine, 2019

Curators: Nira Itzhaki, Nimrod Vainer In Michal Chelbin’s new exhibition photographs from five series, which Chelbin has created since the early 2000s until these days, are shown. At the center of the pieces, young adults are apparent – the heroines and heroes of the show. Chelbin has portraited these during photography excursions in Russia, Eastern […]

ZANGA ZANGA

Sharif Waked, Beace Brocess No. 2, 2011, Ink and highlighter pen on paper (detail)

The works included in the exhibition “ZANGA ZANGA” share parallel themes – representations of moments of collapse, ghosts, hybridity, repetition, and transitions between languages – while reenacting iconic political events, some of which occurred in the Arab world this past year.

Yossi Mark 2008

Curator: Drorit Gur Arie

 

In this solo show, Yossi Mark presents 15 new works from the past 6 years, paintings and drawings in pencil, acrylic and oil on canvas, on variable scale.
Mark, born in Israel, studied philosophy and social studies in Tel Aviv University, and graduated the Avni institue for art in Tel Aviv. Along side his solo exhibitions at Chelouche Gallery in 1993 and 2002, Mark exhibited in the Tel Aviv Museum, the Petach Tikva Museum, the Israeli pavilion in Paris, the West Bloomfield Detroit and the University of Michigan.
Mark's is a unique realism that ignores the tactility of the outer surfaces, and does not idealize what is. Through crystal clear observation,silently detached from the hustle of convention, his paintings depict a near casual, common reality. With lucidity as close as feasible to the direct experience, free from constraints of time and space, albeit very precise about time and space. His art is endowed with Haiku qualities, saturated with the beauty of simplicity, of the ordinary, of the sadness which accompanies the knowledge of the inevitable ephemeralness. (from “Wall, Bed and Slippers”, by Drorit Gur Arie)
Mark's oevre centers the monomentality of the intimate and touches substantial human conditions. The figures that he shows us exposed in their natural expression whithin rooms, and their relation to the space around them, invites the spectator to encounter graceful moments of reflection in ordinary exsistence. His works move from the emotional to the contemplative, from the analitical to the poetical and from visual simplicity to emotional complexity. His paintings that lean on prolonged, slow, focused and direct observation build a soft, quiet, introvert essense that asks for inner attentiveness.

 

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with the essays Wall, Bed and Slippers, by Drorit Gur Arie, Director and Chief Curator of the Petach Tikva Museum of Art and Yossi Mark: Warm expression, Cold gaze, by Dr. David Graves,a senior lecturer in philosophy of art.
 

 

Wall, Bed and Slippers

Drorit Gur Arie

 

The women that inhabit Yossi Mark’s paintings are within themselves, in a bedroom, sitting bewildered at the edge of a bed or half asleep on a crumpled sheet. Their reddish curly hair hints at relaxation, artlessness, a primeval quality; and their body language testifies to peacefulness, as if anticipating something which will forever remain beyond our understanding. The plain, blank wall blocks the horizon, fixes them, and the viewer's gaze, to the presence of the room, to themselves. The wall serves as a screen to cast reflections upon, to empty vagrancies of consciousness, in the silence of the room, in the loaded presence of matter, which is not much, the bare necessities, a bed, a rolled blanket, a nude woman, a pair of slippers and an expanse of floor occasionally. Mark creates matter from the void, movement from the inanimate, and silence envelopes all, contains the “story” which is in fact a “non story”, just “das ding an zich”; pure beauty, distilled grace.

I do my utmost to attain emptiness;
I hold firmly to stillness.
The teaming creatures all rise together
And I watch their return…

Returning to one's roots is known as stillness.
This is what is meant by returning to one's destiny.
Returning to one's destiny is known as the constant.
Knowledge of the constant is known as discernment.

Mark's is a unique realism that ignores the tactility of the outer surfaces, and does not idealize what is. Through crystal clear observation, silently detached from the hustle of convention, his paintings depict a near casual, common reality. With lucidity as close as feasible to the direct experience, free from constraints of time and space, albeit very precise about time and space. His art is endowed with Haiku qualities, saturated with the beauty of simplicity, of the ordinary, of the sadness which accompanies the knowledge of the inevitable ephemeralness. A pebble being thrown into a pond creates ever widening, fading circles, like soft sounds on a sounding board. It is imperative to gaze, to surrender, to that which the painting offers, here, in the immediate, the familiar, in the things as they are – exists the whole. Not in the obsessive search for the sublime, not in some hidden reality. Mark's women are to be found within rooms, in their own state of mind, in their solitude, without being lonely. Here under a bright, shining light, that shimmers on their faces and bodies, alone, facing the emptiness of the grayish blue wall that swallows their musings and gazes and emits them. A wall that is the horizon of the gaze, of consciousness, that is imbued with the seas of Caspar David Friedrich, aspiring to far away and unreachable horizons; as well as with Mark Rothko's fields of vision, dissolving the gaze into his squares that are floating towards the heart of darkness. Mark's sober regime of observation scrutinizes the contents of the intimate space, accelerates toward the empty wall that blocks that field of vision and forces a return to the image, to the room, to the enigmatic, silent space, to the self. In this Mark touches the spirit of Zen – seeing things in their suchness. This is an indication of “that which exists” as a basic cognitive entity, devoid of contrasts such as consistencies versus separation, approvals versus objections, attractions versus repudiations. This is a clear vision of our existence, without conceptualization, without implication of sentiments, or perceptions. This is “IT”, “A Return to the Root”, to what is and nothing else, which contains all dualities that exists in a reciprocal formation, in a complete mutuality. The elusive truth concealed within the expanses of Mark's oeuvres, lies not beyond what the eyes can see; it is present, as in Merleau-Ponty's dictum, in the heart of the seen by itself, in “the unseen of the seen”.

 

Drorit Gur Arie, is the Director and Chief Curator of the Petach-Tikva Museum of Art.
 

 

Yossi Mark: Warm expression, Cold gaze

Dr. David Graves

 

In the closing chapter of his book, The Shock of the New, on the background of his critical analysis of the course of contemporary art, pointing to the signs of reduction, diminution and gradual draining of the spirit, as well as to its often insipid preoccupation with semantics at the expense of the deeper artistic sentiments, Robert Hughes concludes that: “What makes the realist painting interesting is not complete illusion (as if such a thing were possible) but intensity; and there is no intensity without rules, limits, and artifice.” These are the exact prerequisites of the quiet and loaded intensity that is present in Yossi Mark's enigmatic paintings that are shrouded in magic.
Mark is a realist who is sober about realism itself. Aware to the fact that reality is viewed through many theories, is loaded with conventions, colored by often conflicting historical narratives and open to constant interpretation. For him, as well as for many of his peers, there is no clear-cut relation between art and reality. For this is a complex and dynamic relation, that operates on a scale from “what is” and “that which I see”.
In spite of Monet's and his predecessors’ Velasquez, Vermeer, Constable, and Courbet’s attempts to be as faithful to reality as possible and to paint only “what is seen”, “to be only an eye”, it is evident that a true realist is bound to an endless dialog, and as such Mark too operates between “what is” and “what seems to be essential to sum up the scene, to synthesize the painting, to realize its content.” Mark examines reality closely – diligently observes, uncompromisingly, his subject; however, he does not copy reality, certainly does not imitate it.
Thus starts the dialectical dialog that underlies his art – the dialog between what he sees and what he knows…”That which the world needs to become a painting… that the painting needs to become itself,” as was so well formulated by Merlot-Ponty in his 'Eye and Mind'.
The features of this dialog are present in Mark works: a slightly distorted corner of a room that dictates a wholly different compositional tempo – that “opens” the painting. A symmetrical headboard cut diagonally at the margins of the painting, a hardly noticed choice that is critical to the balance of the whole. Traces of the original sketch, which were transferred to the canvas by careful measurement, serve as evidence to the discrepancies existing between the original intention and the observed outcome – well measured irregularities.
However, when everything is meticulously executed, each discrepancy, be it the minutest, gains validity. A minute displacement of a line, an exquisite shift of an angle, stirs something on the canvas; creates a new impetus, a unique type of energy. This is a general rule of Mark's artistic language – all values are relative. Within a total silence, a whisper echoes like a roar, if everything is measured, then each anomaly is a jolt. The same principle applies to color; as a scholar of the early Florentine renaissance and of the Baroque periods, Mark is very well-versed in the interrelations of light-volume-space and in the mysteries of the chiaroscuro. Therefore it is clear to him that a rich, effective and multi-layered loading is achieved when light and shadow are presented relative to one another.
Within a banal, seemingly neutral expanse, by using complementary and simultaneous contrasts of colors, Mark weaves a surprisingly rich and colorful fabric. There he lovingly and endlessly kneads the yellow and the blue in low values, on the verge of twilight, into a magnificent lively field, that resonates between the warm and the cold, between shadow and light. In his fields of colors, reminiscent of Rothko, he contrasts chromatic values in a colorful dance that spreads all over the canvas, giving birth playfully to the whole spectrum. Greens and pinks, cold and warm, they all shimmer in a broken field of color. This is the exact magical moment during which the dull gray turns, in front of the spectator, to a universe of colors that no computer, albeit its millions of pixels, can compete with. The affinity of this aspect of Mark's paintings to those of the “New York School” painters, mainly Rothko and Newman, deserves to be closely studied, inasmuch as true greatness lies in the minutest details.
The secret lies not only in the mastery of the interrelations of colors, but also in the surprisingly fresh mutual dependence that is evident in the Underpainting. The deconstruction of the language down to the skeleton presents the viewer with the punctuation marks and the seams – the cradle of the mutuality of line and daub (as it appears in the two “Etudes” and in both “Abuna” – portraits of an old man), and offers a fascinating examination of the way in which a minute visual nuance – the presence or lack thereof of a transparent layer (such as in both “faces”) – may alter the impact of a painting. With Mark, an adherent of the underpainting, this stage, which is traditionally the first, is often the last as well. A pencil outlining the objective borders of the subject, and two shades of brown that take care of the subjective aspects of the atmosphere, tell the whole story. Thus appears again the special charm of his strokes, the essence that speaks for the whole, and the minimum which is simultaneously the maximum.
The tendency to construe the concept “minimum” as indicating “as little as possible” is inaccurate inasmuch as it is always possible to deduct more. The accurate interpretation should be “not less than that…” this is the exact minimalism of Mark's paintings. The measured definition of the subject by a pencil, the near colorlessness, the Spartan composition that rejects all decorative elements, and the void in which time stands still….. The simultaneous existence of “as little as possible”, and “not anymore”. These are the challenging, intriguing and even irresistible elements of Mark's realism.
The paradox of the minimum which is the maximum as well is one of the many qualities which are apparent in Mark's oeuvres. The colorlessness is miraculously colorful. The meticulous drawing by pencil is excruciatingly sharp, but teeming at the same time with love and boundless patience toward the subject and its craft whose product is gentle and cozy. A slightly deflected corner of a room softens the rigorousness of the composition, and puts the scene in motion. The silent counterpoint accumulating between the rigid decisiveness of the geometrical regime and the subtle softness of the anatomical volume and the morphological elements, as well as the dynamic impetus of the gaze as it accelerates into the pictorial space of the larger paintings; these, assisted by the perspective, create a panoramic experience that lives under the same roof with the monolithic static nature of the human images reminiscent of ancient Egyptian sculpture. The mystics are enamoured of the paradoxical, because paradoxes define the “absolute” by synthesizing the opposites. The assimilation of this quality into art signifies an exceptional artistic competence.
In an artistic corpus in which that which is measured shifts, the gray becomes a spectrum of colors, the banal is sublime and the monumental turns into routine, Mark's subjects appear as new landscapes, familiar and strange at the same time. The silky and the hard are interchangeable with hair and rock, a portrait of an old man with a mountainside engraved by time. Auburn hair flows down from a bed as a torrent of fragile crystals. A nude woman sits in her bedroom, in which the only warm objects are the floor at her feet and the shadow that she casts on the bed, and still, she shines. In another painting, the bed itself, in an unexpected close up, a surprising foreshortening – like a landscape beyond a mountain range…. And a pair of slippers.
In contrast with the seeming ostentatious, extrovert, alienated opulence which pervades the contemporary art world, Mark's canvases offer a restrained, reserved being, that strives to achieve simplicity, introversion; reconstructing faith in the act of painting. The subtle balance between their abstract plasticity and the concrete, coherent impression of their surfaces, as well as that which exists between the revealing, focused exposition of the images and the emphatic attention dedicated to body language and gaze – balances achieved through a direct, concise, long term, deep observation; these radiate a warm expression, produce a cold gaze, bring forward the secrete magic of the real.

 

Dr. David Graves is a senior lecturer in philosophy of art.

 

What’s Going On In The Field Now

What's Going On in The Field Now 1, 2000, acrylic on canvas, 50X50 cm

Pinchas Zinovich’s abstract painting is born of oppositions: between idiom and motifs; between abstract expression and the wish to employ common visual or verbal codes. The special place he occupies in Israeli art is the result of these oppositions. Zinovich proposes an ambivalent painterly position, hovering between the abstract and the non-abstract. He does not follow in the footsteps of the New Horizons group or of traditional, figurative, narrative art. He is characterized by very expressive painting, which is not based on concrete imagery but on color and on presenting the creative process.  

William Kentridge 2005

This is William Kentridge's first solo exhibition in Israel. Born in 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa where he still lives and works, William Kentridge is known for his socially and politically involved work, and has gained international recognition for his distinctive animated short films and for the charcoal drawings on which they are based. His drawings, animated films and videos, and theater and opera productions focus on the intimate, personal narratives of daily existence, and provide both a view into and contrast to the greater political and historical context from which they are drawn.
 

The exhibition features William Kentridge’s recent animated film, Tide Table (2003), along with numerous graphics that feature different aspects of his work and the issues he deals with. In the film Tide Table Kentridge returns to filming charcoal and pastel drawings on paper to create an elegiac work on youth, maturity, illness, awareness, worry, indolence and perhaps even destiny. Kentridge also chooses to returns to his protagonist Soho Eckstein, the industrialist and real-estate entrepreneur prominent in earlier works. The image of Soho, one of Johannesburg major developers in its early days, is portrayed on the beach as both the stage of events and their erasure are created by the white frothy waves of Tide Table.
The prints and graphics accompanying this exhibition, set the atmosphere for this unique artist, and were somewhat inspired by Svevo's novel: Confessions of Zeno.

Since participating in Dokumenta X in Kassel in 1997, solo shows of Kentridge's work have been hosted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and MCA San Diego. Moreover, throughout the years, Kentridge exhibited vastly worldwide. During 1998 and 1999, a survey exhibition of his work was seen in Brussels, Munich, Barcelona, London, Marseille and Graz. A survey show in 2001 in Washington, traveled to New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Cape Town. A shadow oratorio, Confessions of Zeno, was created for Documenta XI in 2002; A new survey exhibition, which travels to museums in Turin, Dusseldorf, Sydney, Montreal and Johannesburg, opened in 2004.
At the moment, Kentridge is directing a production of Mozart’s Magic Flute commissioned by La Monnaie in Brussels; also scheduled for 2005 is a commissioned project for the Guggenheim Museum in Berlin.

 

Kentridge was awarded in 1999 the Carnegie Medal at the Carnegie International 1999/2000, and in October 2003 Kentridge received the Goslar Kaisserring in recognition of his contribution to contemporary art.
 

Works

 Miki Kratsman // Works

Hadas Maor

 

Miki Kratsman is one of Israel's highly distinguished photographers. For over 22 years he has been infinitely committed to seriously documenting the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and mainly, its bitter consequences on the daily life of the Palestinian population. From Kratsman's point of view, an accumulated documentation of this difficult daily routine – a routine comprised of different kinds of obstruction, death, memory, hope, insult, anger, hatred or acceptance – is more important, significant and even disquieting than any specific documentation of a potentially spectacular or extreme event .

 

The works exhibited in this show are, in some way, a unique collection gathered from this massive line of work. They include a combination of different techniques and diverse ways of observation. They were all taken beyond the green line, a concept that turned somewhat anachronistic in the last few years, while deliberating on certain generative phenomena. The separation wall, Road 443, Gush Katif and more.

The first exhibition hall includes color photographs taken at Gilo, Khan Yunis, Erez barrier, Jenin and more. The characterization of the separation wall on its different facades; the destruction of houses; the gateway administration; the phenomenon of the wanted armed men. In his early works Kratsman focused on the mediation of complex human situations, while intentionally stressing the way his actual presence in the field of occurrence functions as an active force, both influencing it and being affected by it. In the current show the focus is on defining the general state of affairs in a broad and principle manner, and not on distinct individual description. Most of the photographs are devoid of any direct human presence. Quiet photographs, almost pastoral, unrevealing and at the same time refining the fact they are connected with such a difficult and painful situation.

 

The other exhibition hall includes photographs in black and white only; A series that was taken at Gush Katif during 2005, just a few months before the media-covered evacuation. The series exposes a silent, emptied out abandoned place in which the swing of settlement and wasteland flourishing seems to have evaporated or as if it had never really existed. The drama in these works is not in the ongoing occurrence seen in them but rather in the meaning derived from it. The series demonstrates the dimension of fracture embodied in the situation, in a principal absolute manner, without connecting it to the political or ideological stance in relation to its circumstances. Kratsman's choice of the unique photographic format that creates a dark halo around the image and a focus on the object at the center of the lens creates a past tense and produces a feeling of remembrance. By doing so, the act of photography serves Kratsman not only as a possible mediator of the act of lamentation, of separation, but also as a catalyst that wishes to urge it. 

 

The juxtaposition of the two sections of the show within one frame of thought is not attempting to indicate a connection of cause and effect, but to create a continual and rudimentary succession that binds the two sides of the separation wall together. A wall that is like a redundant scar in the landscape, that as an unattended cut, grew wild dermis, ledges, salients, pits and endless infections.
 

Works from the 70’s

Zigi Ben-Haim, Formation in Paper, series - F-135, 1979, paper, gauze, and matte medium, 53.3X68.6 cm

 Zigi Ben-Haim | Works from the 70's

Curator: Nira Itzhaki

 

01.01.2015 – 07.02.2015

 

The exhibition Zigi Ben-Haim | Works from the 70's is dedicated to artworks of this period that marks the breakthrough of the artist's artistic career, and which set an example for young artists of then and now. The exhibition showcases Ben-Haim's exceptionally powerful and unique collages on paper from the 70's, titled Formation in Paper series.

 

During the 1970's, after completing his studies, Zigi Ben-Haim arrived in Soho, New York, where he resides and works till this day. Being an immigrant distorts the personal image of reality, a state of mind that motivates the search after one's own roots. In this series of works from the 70's, Ben-Haim emphasized the presence of the absence at the core of its existence, where only the traces of the process can be evident and experienced. Ben-Haim demonstrates this by the act of pulling ropes which lay between layers of pieces of paper. The discarded paper was collected from the industrial neighborhood, where he lived and worked; newspapers, brown paper and scrap papers disposed from sewing factories, were mounted in picturesque compositions stacked one on top of the other, holding the ropes that eventually were pulled with force. This action left tracks which cut through the layered paper and left deep linear slits in the works themselves.

 

The dynamic energy of the rope becomes the manifestation of its absence -the quest for identity is present in the process. As Ben-Haim stated “The process, which realizes the work, is composed by stages of construction, pulling and reduction. The rope is an allegory to an earthquake and the cracks that follow it. Also symbolic to the marks that are left by the accumulation of knowledge in people.” The ropes in Ben-Haim's works are linked to the power and violence of nature.

 

The 70's were turbulent years in the art world, minimalism flourished. However in contrast to artists of the time, Ben-Haim was using minimalism as a tool not as a goal. Many art critics noted the importance, originality and innovation of Ben-Haim's art. Among them, Yigal Zalmona who wrote in 1977 on Ben-Haim “His courage to change a course of action is what secured for him a prestigious position among forefront artists in the USA.” The art critic Joan Marter, a contributor to ARTS Magazine, affiliated him with the tradition of “White on White” as part of the motto “less is more” that began with Malevich's painting from 1918.

 

Zigi Ben-Haim is considered to be one of the main and innovative artists that were concerned with the mark of body gesture on paper, and a leader of a new method of sculptural drawings that encompass layers of history and memory.

 

“The 70's are the foundation of my work till today. The cultural transition is manifested in the tracks carved in the layers of the waste paper collected. A material that in itself represents the history of a culture” – Zigi Ben-Haim 
 

Exhibition text- Hebrew

From the press:

Zigi Ben-Haim in an interview on i24 News (Published on 06.01.2015, 02:44 min) – Link

Zigi Ben-Haim in Conversation With Curator Nira Itzhaki on Jewish Business News (Published On: Thu, Jan 15th, 2015) – Link

 

 

Yadid Rubin 2002

Yadid Rubin is one of Israel’s most prominent artists. The exhibition features 16 new paintings, oil on canvas, from the previous two years. Yadid Rubin, born 1938, lives and works in Kibutz Givat Haim Yichud. Rubin’s paintings express remarkably and beautifully the meaning of the allusive term “Israeli characteristics”: the landscape of the kibutz, vast […]

Yadid Rubin 2004

Yadid Rubin, born 1938, lives and works in Kibutz Givat Haim Yichud. He arrives at his studio every morning, until noontime. He paints with sweeping dynamics that carries him into the climax, and then he brakes away from the painting, abandons the studio and returns the next day. Time and time again.
Rubin's paintings express remarkably and beautifully the meaning of the allusive
Term “Israeli characteristics”: the landscape of the kibutz, vast plowed fields, plantations filled with fruitful trees, columns of cypresses, houses and tractors. Small buildings and open spaces long gone live on in his paintings, free from dependence on the visible to the eye. “I paint the landscape of the kibutz, but in fact these are the landscapes of the soul. I don't paint out of plain observation, but out of the accumulation of sensations and reactions to different conditions of nature”, says Rubin.

 

 

Rubin's approach to painting is very personal and with clear pictorial style, much like Michael Gross and Rubin's long personal friend- Uri Reizman. Apparent in Rubin's work are the impressionist influences of Van Gouch with whom Rubin corresponds through the image of landscape, and through pictorial work with thick layers of paint and shapes constructed out of brush strokes that appear to be thrown on the canvas with great restrained force. For Rubin, the landscape is a semantic field of signs, replacing the realistic and naturalistic conventions of forms. Like Van Gouch, his point of view is subjective; but contrasting the agonizing and religious perception of Van Gouch, Rubin's perception is secular, free and full of optimism.

Rubin paints sitting on the floor or standing across from a canvas that leans on a chair. He smears the paint with his bare hands, with a spatula, with brushes or strait from the tube. His style is intense and dense with lush brilliant colorfulness. The colorful patterns repeat themselves to create an organized totality. The fields of form and color are constructed of a repeating rhythm of lines, dote and circle. This rhythm balances the continuance pulse of vertical and horizontal into a harmonic structure reminiscent of jazz music, creating a strong sensation of vitality and abundance, which seem to want to break the limits of the canvas.
 

Yossi Mark 2002

Emotion accumulated in Silence
Dorit Gur-Arie

 
“To extend the Being, to transform it into a vertical (supra-temporal) one, the ordinary must be internalized…. the subjectless must become the unique”.

The beholder of Yossi Mark’s works feels as someone unable to escape his own self. The works- restrained and meticulously done, consisting of the immaculately clean grayish space and a single monumental image, usually occupying the center of the composition, like an exacting icon- are magnetizing. Mark is creating a sacred contemplative space for the beholder, some kind of a temple.

The painting, seemingly, is from here and now. Images of young women conscious of their bodies’ maturity, strong youth, life overflowing with vitality; the seemingly banal appearance of the bathroom. The contemporary signs are recognizable everywhere but then a heavy silence penetrates the painting. Stillness. Seclusion. Serenity. The state of solitude and contemplation depicted in the painted image, gains strength against the emptiness surrounding it. Mark frees the space from details. The primordial space, the framed piece of the infinite- it possesses almost ethereal quality. The poetics of the empty and the raw intensify the metaphysical quality of the painting. The visual energies are concentrated in the essential, in the image, which is frequently found in a meditative state of mind, detached from persistent noise. It is purifying solitude creating a conscious state of inner attentiveness. This is the soul’s journey to the understanding of the self, of the surrounding, the Time, the way of life…

The painting is static. But its static character is only physical. The mental concentration creates motion and movement; thrilling alertness, procrastination, slowly reaching deep levels of consciousness. Mark seeks after being of wholeness lost in the extroverted and madness ridden contemporary culture. “There”, there is a meeting place- refined, essential, ancient, archetypal, and archaic. The referential connection to the regions of the past is not an unintentional return; it is born neither of nostalgic nor of romantic strategies. It is a purposeful and definitive action born out of conviction that precisely those components, so vital and valid, are loaded with primordially human weight.

The commonplace exists. It serves as a point of origin. The image, like the space around it, is free from superfluous elements. Everything is measured, is asking not to overburden the eye. The images exercise heavy physical presence that is not extroverted. The sensuality is not enticing. It is joyless, latent- a possibility only. The clothes are accidentally thrown over the body only as a covering for the flesh; the assumed posture is rigid and restrained. The physical tension exists but is light and only hinted at: stiffness of the nape, wrinkled fabric, disheveled hair, dynamism of the sheets in the bed, stains of red in the bath. Charged existence assumes silent activity. A state of mind rather then activity. The threshold of movement.

This painting is an outcome of prolonged, slow observation; it uses the surface of reality but is not captured in it. The painting aspires to laconism, compresses the Visible, asks to give full attention to what surrounds us, the immediate and the nearest: the light falling on the image, the juncture of the wall and the floor, the reflected image of the clothes-hanger in the mirror, the shadow cast by the washing tube.

The neutralization of the image from the majority of personal, local, and cultural aspects and taking it out of the indifferent amorphous sequence of everyday existence, detach the image, charge it as an icon. The image, its expression and construction in the space make an existential statement. “…the highest densities of meaning lie in the immediate, in the most obviously ‘at hand’.” This is not just a women washing herself, a pregnant woman, a sleeping figure, a youth looking through the window. It is an attempt to sanctify the profane. Ethical and aesthetic activity creates a shift, new relationship between signifier and signified, between classical, archaic, religious formations and those human entities having sculptural presence- monolithic and semi-stoic. An enigmatic encounter, sonorous and purified as in the advent, which transcends place and time.

Schumer, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Fayyum, Byzantium. Rich cultural space, which is firmly imprinted on the human consciousness. The latent radiation of the past, its anchored presence in the present- lamination of the work in such a sophisticated way allows of a longed-for touch upon fundamental human experiences. Everything is so very distant and yet so very close, as if it has always been there. The atmosphere is saturated with humanity, the deep sorrow, the perished metaphysical light, the beauty, complete tranquility. Giotto, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Antonello de Messina, Caravaggio….

The intimate and introspective dialogue pours out of the image and into the surroundings and from there flows into the beholder. The synchronous dialogue: inside outside and inside again- into the beholder’s consciousness. The eye contact is established, the dynamics of “reflecting back”- a meeting of gazes between the beholder and the work of art. The image is a reservoir of feeling and thought, for everything that is impossible to embrace. The silence becomes active. The empty evokes a medieval echo. “Now I behold you as a mirror, in an icon, in a riddle, life eternal…. the secret places of my soul… to behold is to give life”.

The monumentalisation of silence, the severity and the restraint of the image and the background, impose and dictate a focused mood, moderato, accumulating. The power of the painting is in its being an echo chamber of the silence chords- thin, distant clusters of secrets.

Emotion accumulated in silence.
Drorit Gur-Arie is the Chief Curator and Director of the Petach Tikva Museum of Art.
 

Time After Time

Time After Time

Nir Evron | Uri Gershuni | Miki Kratsman

 

Miki Kratsman told me about him being a photography technician. He continued and specified he used to work in medical photography. I think his point was that the technical aspect never left him, and in fact had become pivotal to his work in the sense that photography could be thought of as a practicum, as continuous time, as a procedural occupation – collecting, sorting, cataloguing. As I listened I immediately, thought of literature in general, and W. G. Sebald especially, in the context of his, Nir Evron's and Uri Gershuni's works. All three of them are not only photo technicians but are also technicians of photography. All three of them are “Sebalds”. Sebald's books (rather than his stories) are some of the most essential books written by authors. Books for knowledgeable readers. This to say, each one of them is a workshop of a resourceful practice. His protagonists, like him, perform in many dimensions (widely, deeply, backwards), just to step forward. Time, nevertheless, is critical; but not necessarily in its inerrant hastiness to rush ahead. In Sebald’s books, time is coordinated, existing in a stretch of space. Some coordinates are important to linger on, others are not. Sebald's “time” is the understanding of the inability to grasp it. An understanding of a subject's inability to truly present itself. Consequently, to this predetermined failure, Sebald provides his books and protagonists with an indication mechanism; an ability to identify and to draw from a collection of details, and for one glorious moment, a second before they will vaporize into oblivion, to allow these details to illuminate, to be a part of a subjectivity, even faded one.

 

***
Miki Kratsman's images at the exhibition are taken from his Facebook page (Miki Kratsman: People I Met); Kratsman “cuts” portraits of non-combatants in the occupied territories from his photographic archive, and uploads them to his “page”. ‘What has become of them?’ He asks his Facebook audience. The answers vary; some of these non-combatants have already died: wanted, by-passers, shot with precision (target killings) by employing some of the most advanced military technology that differentiates between one and the other, or in any other conflict-related situation. Some of them are still among us. Kratsman's politics are there, of course. But Kratsman's course has additional motives. To my knowledge, Kratsman is writing a story about ‘representation’ and its fate. I use the word fate for a good reason. 'Happened' is a word that could mediate the banal next to the tragedy. Indeed, while bearing in mind the objectives in the photographs, it is photography in a violent and difficult place. The photographs are 'bad', 'cutout', 'taken by', and 'pasted on'. They are kind of an insult to the sharp and bright fetishism of photography as we know it. Kratsman points out to a fictitious subjectivity. These are classic 'missing persons' photographs; those that are pointed at, carelessly at times; a partially erased inventory list. The portraits, of people living or dead, are individually a world of its own for their relatives, yet nothing to those who want them dead. Kratsman brings this dissonance to his Facebook page. This results in a softer appearance on the one hand, while reveals the poignance on the other. Facebook, if you will, is the tool-box, the workshop. These are the boundaries of his territory; his space allowance. Facebook is “cool”, quick, clean, electronic. What does Facebook has to do with Shahids? How can one draw an analogy between a 'Bullet to the head' and Facebook 'Likes'? Or, in other words- who, or what, do I like when I 'Like' a picture of a wanted man on Kratsman's Facebook? And what does this entire colonialist Facebook issue have to do with the horrible life under occupation? These questions do not deal with sentimentality whatsoever. They are precisely what they are: questions that arise from representation, regarding the culture of representation and the ever-growing distance between 'life' and us.

 

***
We are not supposed to see camouflage nets, surely- it is what they are made for! To remain unnoticed, until it is too late; until the tip of a gun barrel appears, until the trap has been activated and we find ourselves dangling in a net from a branch in a thick jungle. The distance between the moment of discovery and the outcome is almost non-existent. There is no reaction time. They are intertwined. Camouflage nets operate as part of a whole fabric. Should they appear like a jungle, a dessert, snow. They need 'x' parts of a whole to create an illusion; to enable the hidden to stay hid. They are meant to assimilate; to conceal the cracks between nature and culture. And so, there is something pathetic about a camouflage net without anything to camouflage. Stretched without reason, or rolled tightly. As mentioned, it is a subversion against any narrated possibility. It is advised to differentiate between a plot and suspension. A plot requires time and progression. Suspense can be the by-product of a narrative, but not necessarily. I believe suspense can just exist on its own. It is an intriguing paradox; a fundamental essence of matter (suspense). Perhaps the kind we never notice its existence, until we experience it. However, would it remain suspenseful? Evron understands the difference between storytelling and a good book. This choice, of a camouflage net camouflaging itself, a net without a nature to relate to, and nothing to hide from a watching eye, is a precise choice to eliminate the omniscient narrator; the choice to try the possibility of a firsthand experience, a witty choice that allows photography to evade from the burden of the 'narrative', yet stay political, poetic, narcissistic and yet generous.

 

***
Perhaps Lot's wife just took a quick glance over her shoulder. `She could not resist’ they shall say later. 'You see, the body moves forward, away from the event. I am not there anymore’ she mumbled to herself. `The gaze is a remote control, nothing more. It will fade eventually anyway. In any case, it is only an etching tool for a hazy memory: a memory that will be made by the growing distance between my body and the occurring event, into just a 'good story'’. So, on she goes, with her back to the fire that probably cast her shadows in front of her. And then, a moment before she crosses the ridge and disappears into the valley behind it, she turns her chin few centimeters over her shoulder, as much as the spine allows. Just enough for the eye to catch a glimpse, just enough for the brain to process. A slight motion, not unintentional, and it is just sufficient for her body to harden, with no time to comprehend; to instantly turn into a pillar of salt. Past, present and future are imprisoned; her time is, paradoxically, eternalized. After her unsuccessful attempt to unify it (forward she went, backward she looked), she turned into a mass in space, a wasted potential energy. I can imagine Gershuni asking his models: 'Can you become Lot's wife for a moment?' It makes me laugh because this look over the shoulder of a certain subject has a seductive, playful, incidental nature. So it seems. This is a surprised gaze of someone who turned their head as a reaction to a touch of a hand or a voice. Not enough to turn the entire body, but certainly a gaze. It is not the gaze, in Gershuni's photographs, of someone staring into the fire of hell. One may say “it is just a reference”. However, that is not the case. This reference puts Gershuni's project in a historical context; a possibility to notice the depth of his research and the abundance of his findings; to point out 'photography' as more than a moment in time, but rather a continuum.

 

Rembrandt's painting 'Anatomy Lesson', that appears as a reproduction in Sebald's book 'The Rings of Saturn', depitcs a scene of a doctor's guild performing an autopsy. Those paying attention will find that the doctors bending over the dead body are actually examining the anatomy book on the bedside rather than the body. Sebald is directing our attention to the subject's annulment in the face of science. Indeed, but not solely. The use of the Rembrandt's reproduction enables Sebald to extend the literary boundaries; this photograph of a painting which depicts an open book, and its use as a platform for visual examination, is transformed into a modernist and moral argument. This is, by all means, a long stretch of the complexity of life as a representation. Be it a painting, photograph, story or book. This is the understanding of the essence of mediation. And this is, I believe, the understanding that Evron, Gershuni and Kratsman are sharing.

 

Text: Danny Yahav-Brown

 

Uri Gershuni (born 1970), lives and works in Tel Aviv. Gershuni holds a BFA and MFA from the Departments of Photography and Fine Arts, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Recipient of the Israel’s Minister of Culture ‘Art Encouragement’ Award (2012), and the Young Photographer Award, Haifa Museum of Art (2005). Gershuni participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Israel and abroad.

 

Nir Evron (born 1974), lives and works in Tel Aviv. He completed a BFA degree at The Photography Department in Bezalel Academy of Art and an MFA degree in Media Art at the Slade School of Art, London. He has exhibited extensively in Israel and abroad in museums, festivals, biennales and galleries among them the 6th Berlin Biennale, MARCO Vigo, The Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv, 25 FPS in Zagreb, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and PhotoEspana in Madrid. On 17.05.13, Evron will present his work “A Free Moment” at the ICP triennial. He was awarded The Ostrovsky Family Fund Award at the (2011), the Israel’s Minister of Culture ‘Art Encouragement’ Award (2011), the Shmuel Givon Award from the Tel Aviv Museum (2008), Israel’s Minister of Culture award for a young artist (2007).

 

Miki Kratsman, born 1959 in Argentina, immigrated to Israel in 1971. His photographs were regularly published in the Israeli daily newspaper “Haaretz” in the rubric “The Twilight Zone” in collaboration with journalist Gideon Levy. Since 2006 he presides as head of the photography department of Bezalel academy of arts, Jerusalem. Kratsman exhibits consistently in Israel and throughout the world, amongst them are: the Venice biennale; the 2006 Sao Paulo Biennale and MARCO, Vigo, Spain; the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Santiago, Chile; Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Witte de With, Rotterdam; La Virreina Image Centre, Barcelona; MUSAC Museum, Leon. He is the recipient of the Emet Prize for Science, Art and Culture (2011), and the fifth recipient of the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography, Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Harvard University 2011.

Exibition text- Hebrew

 

Gallery Talk with the participation of Nir Evron, Uri Gershuni and Miki Kratsman, 24.05.2013 

Time Machine

This is Christoph Keller's first solo exhibition in Israel. Keller, born 1967 in Freiburg, Germany, works and lives in Berlin. Keller is one of Germany's most interesting and unique photographers and video artists.
In Time Machine Christoph Keller is presenting a series of time and space related works using the media of photography, live video, video art and a mirror-object. The show relates artwork from the recent years with first time shown objects.
The exhibition is centered on the notions of time and the machinic. Time as the constituting element of space – and the machinic, as an expression for the paradigm of the continuous flow of time that dominates perception in film and photography.
Using different points of view, Christoph Keller explores the Lorentz transformation, that suggests that time can be translated into space and wise versa, the influence of the theory of relativity on the object, and Heisenberg's ideas in quantum physics that claims the viewer influences the physical process, and the joint influences between time and space.

 

RUNDUM-BILDER: Ongoing series of photographs using slit-scan technique in self built cameras. Exploration of urban time profiles. The Rundum-Photographs is very long images representing a sequence of time rather than they are spatial. Only movement is being depicted. Instead of being “at a certain place at a certain time”, the observer of panoramic reproductions finds himself in motion. Time builds the horizontal axis. It is only when speed of the camera begins to match that of the object that the panoramic reproductions begin to liken the photographic.
 

CONTINOUUS-PREESNT: Video-mirror in which the viewer sees him/herself slow motion. At the beginning of each 30second-sequence the mirror image is shown almost simultaneously, but then slowly the counter-image fades into the past.
 

INVERSE OBJECT NO.I: A slowly turning mirror-object with a perfect symmetrical structure. Every gaze of the viewer, who remains static in the center, is reflected back by its mirror prisms
RUNDUM-FILM: A video showing Rundum-Filmstrips that are used in a 35mm film-projector. The images are displayed only for split seconds. A voice talks about sizes of distances and time in the different layers of the projection.

 

Christoph Keller has exhibited in such places as PS1 in New York, KUNST-WERKE in Berlin, ZKM KARLSRUHE, MUSEUM NOBEL in Stockholm, Museum of Modern Art in Saltsburg, SPRENGEL MUSEUM in Hanover. In 2002 Keller participated at the group exhibition PARADISE at the Herzlya Museum of Art. In these days Christoph Keller is participating at the exhibition SCIENCE AND FICTION that opened recently at the National Museum in Tokyo.
 

Training House

The exhibition includes an installation in the gallery space and a video work (Tekken).
The installation deals with the gallery space by transforming it into blunt substitute surroundings aesthetically wise as well as iconologically: the walls of the gallery was painted bright, oily red and on the floor a syntactical grass carpet was spread. Onto the grass invade a wall installation that is bound by the walls of a large greenhouse. The work is a dismantled and reconstructed image, of the artists siting, each with her leg put in cast, resting on a bench. From each side of the siting image of the artists a speaker plays the song Lighthouse, by the master of 50's Israeli music, the late Shoshana Damari.
 

The video work Tekken draws from the popular “Mash-up” culture. This is a combination, or a collage, of historical films that documented the life of the citizens in the early years of the state of Israel, scenes from Hollywood movies from he same period, digital computer games, animation and image from the history of art.

 

The works in the exhibition Training House deal with relations between the natural and the artificial, the privacy of the house and the public front, the national identity and the enlightened cosmopolitan model. It deals with the fixation in which we live in, and the conflict between the attraction to the kitsch and the synthetic from one side and the gender – determined national subjective identity from the other side.