June 23, 2000.

Retrained Installations, Impersonal Memory

Smadar Shefi

Two designers in conjunction with artists from aboard currently have exhibitions at Hamisrad be Tel Aviv, (The Tel Aviv Office) and Chelouche Gallery.
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The Chelouche Gallery is continuing with its “Passage” series, in which an Israeli and a foreign artist display their works alongside one anther. This time the gallery’s curators are betting on a truly interesting combination – Gal Weinstein, a young Israeli artist who was so far provided a body of varied and surprising work (from the soccer-players table at Artfucos to the installation of a shingled roof at the Kibbutz Gallery); and Pedro Cabrita-Reis, a Portuguese artist who, over the past few years, has created architectural installations that focus on eclectic elements.
The works of Weinstein and Reis have changed the nature of the space inside the gallery, giving the impression of one big installation. Reis has set up pillars of pottery-colored silica bricks and three large pictures’ while Weinstein has expended upon a work which he began about a year ago, creating huge curtains out of streamers of silicon threads that tumble to the floor. The curtains divide the space into three sections, reminiscent of a sort architectural solution often seen in Mediterranean Basin and in Muslim countries – long chains, usually made of beads, that block out the sun’ blur the distinction between inside and outside, but do not impede the flow of air. One almost expects the artificial silicon threads to jingle. The gallery is divided by these curtains into three smaller areas that viewer catches sight of, yet can’t take in all at the same time.
Reis silica pillars are at once architectural and wittily undercutting the structural. Inside the basement in which the gallery is located (which has concrete pillars), Reis’s pillars have no function; they are like Atlas- figures holding up a world that has no need of them. The bricks are a slightly chipped, reminiscent of a damaged building, so that they are in essence a telling comment on strength that has not yet grasped the fact that it is not required. One pillar is “bandaged” brown masking tape that is attached to a jug of water reflected on the wall, as if to give a tangible sign of life conveying the impression of having been saved from gradual disintegration or a catastrophe.
This installation, like the work of Saxinger, examines the way in which we read images. In both cases, the installations are restrained it is the viewer who controls them. The impersonal “memory” of the Saxinger installation, and the blurred “present” at the Chelouche Gallery, both become tangible and echo in art.

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