Boys Craft, exhibition catalogue, Haifa Museum of Art, 2008
curator: Tami Katz-Freiman
Uri Gershuni’s ‘Rejuvenation’ is a photographic portrait of artist Edna Ohana, who is seen wearing a knit shawl created by the artist. It is displayed alongside two frontal photographs that make up his work ‘Altar’, and which feature pattern papers painted with a technique that lends them the appearance of crocheted doilies. Gershuni sees a great affinity between photography and knitting. “both”, he explains, “include a synthesis between a production process and a creative process; between their technological and emotional dimensions”. Knitting is considered to be a functional art, and photography long struggled to secure its status in the field of “high” art. “in my photographic work”, Gershuni says, “I often consciously engage with this medium’s allegedly inferior elements, and with the idea of being an assembly line worker in the factory of images.
The crochet needle and the camera enable me to cling to reality, and my fingers stay focused on the action of moving and pressing down”. The process of making the “doilies” similarly belongs to the realm of “interior” tasks. These are childlike paintings, at once reductive and compulsive, which undermine the myth concerning the artist’s touch and the artwork’s aura of uniqueness.
Gershuni has chosen the medium of photography in order to distinguish himself from his father and brother, who are both painters. The technological dimension of photography enables him to operate at a removal from the visceral and sensual quality of painting, and from the expressiveness associated with the artist’s unique touch.
Photographic portraiture enables him to dig under the surface, and to penatrate unto the depth of the human soul. In the portrait ‘Rejuvenation’, the sitter removes her clothing and puts on a grey woolen shawl painstakingly knit for her by the artist; her participation in the photographic act may be read as an expression of gratitude. In this context, the cape functions as a kind of “transitional object”, which is invested with a comforting, supportive and protective power – an object that mediates between the photographer and the sitter, between image and reality.