Tal Frank: Freestanding

January 24 - June 20, 2009

Curator: Tal Yahas

In recent years, Tal Frank has mostly presented bodies of work composed of hyperrealistic, polished sculptures. She specializes in casts made of polymeric materials, which she expertly transforms into simulacra of a wide range of materials: paper, cardboard, metal, plastic, various fluids, bones and fur. Frank's works combine characteristics of classical, naturalistic sculpture, which glorifies the mimesis of an idealized reality; at the same time, she dialogues with postmodern art, applying her sculptural strategy to objects that are taken from the sphere of everyday life, and which often resemble ready-mades.

In contrast to most of her works, whose level of finish initially creates the illusion that the sculpted object is a perfect imitation of reality, the sculpture of the girl at the center of the installation Freestanding remains "unfinished." The material's pinkish color has not been camouflaged by an additional layer of paint that would have endowed it with the appearance of a perfect copy. This decision to leave the material unraveled and unfinished is unusual in the context of Frank's highly polished works. In this manner, the artist chooses to announce that this is indeed a sculpture; by imperfectly representing reality, she seems to be delaying an impending disaster before it comes to pass.

Frank's works always contain an element related to destruction, and clearly express her preoccupation with death. The connection between death and the perfect imitation of reality endows these works with a surreal quality that may appear either humoristic or morbid; it highlights the preoccupation with vestiges, with abjection and with dysfunctional states. The installation's title, "Freestanding," relates to a form of sculpture that constitutes an independent entity as well as alludes to the source of the state of fear it captures. The fear of death, a recurrent motif in Frank's work, is fused in this installation with parental anxieties. "Freestanding" may be interpreted as a metaphor for a mother's fears concerning her daughter, who served as a model for the sculpture. In this nightmarish scene the little girl undergoes a trauma of some sort, and the liquid running down her body points to a hidden and violent transformative force. The decision to leave the sculpture "unfinished" is thus indicative, it seems, of the incompatibility between two types of creation - parenthood and art making. The sculpture's imperfection symbolizes the desire to circumscribe anxiety within the limits of artistic representation, moments before it seeps into the real.

Tal Frank was born in Tel Aviv (1973). She studied in the Film and Animation Department, Camera Obscura, Tel Aviv (1998-1999), and is a graduate of Hamidrasha School of Art, Beit Berl College (1993-1997, 2003-2005); she holds an M.F.A. from the Fine Art Department, University of Haifa (2005-2007). Solo exhibitions include: "White Noise," Be'eri Gallery, Kibbutz Be'eri (2005); "Jeff's Dog," Rosenfeld Gallery, Tel Aviv (2008). Group exhibitions include: "The Fleet," Popolus Gallery, Tel Aviv (2002); "Transfers," Artists House, Tel Aviv (2005); "Hotter than Usual," TheHeder Contemporary Art Gallery, Tel Aviv (2007); "White," Tavi Dresdner Gallery, Tel Aviv (2008); "Detail," Chelouche Gallery, Tel Aviv (2008); "Movement in Flexibility," Dollinger Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2008); "In Silence," Rothschild 69, Tel Aviv (2008). Frank has received the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Prize (1996, 1997); the D.V.E. Foundation Scholarship (2005); and the Ministry of Defense Young Artist Award (2006). She lives and works in Tel Aviv.

Freestanding, 2008 (installation view), fiberglass and M.D.F, 130 x 50 x 35 cm, courtesy of the artist and Rosenfeld Gallery, Tel Aviv, photo: Guy Mendlin

Emanuel Faytchevitz: Scattering Former Love

January 24 - June 20, 2009

Curator: Tal Yahas

The works featured in this exhibition were inspired by the world of medical imaging, which uses computerized technologies to scan and map out the body. The scanning process invades the flesh and produces an abstraction of the human body, disassembling and reassembling it as a collection of data. These digital images - ranging from the ultrasound imaging of fetuses to CT studies of corpses and mummies - accompany people throughout their lives, from the womb to the grave. Faytchevitz is concerned with states in which man experiences his existence and body as a flat image and as a virtual, alienating entity. The computerized processing of the body, which renders it immaterial, finally leads to the loss of its human dimension.

In recent years, Faytchevitz has mainly exhibited bodies of work consisting of watercolor paintings on paper. The power of his works is born of the tension between the delicate, light-hued, transparent watercolors and the dark themes with which he charges them. These include passionate scenes involving force, violence and explicit sexuality inspired by currents events, kabbalistic myths, Japanese pornography and more. The first paintings in the current series were paintings of skulls and fetuses, in which medical imaging serves as the primary aesthetic reference. These body parts hover upon the white page, and are decorated with colorful dots that seem to allude to the "mapping" of the "scanned" body part. Due to the arbitrary distribution of these dots, they are transformed into an excessive, purposeless ornament - like jewelry adorning a series of ghosts. As this series evolved, Faytchevitz applied the same aesthetic to various portraits and narrative scenes. It seems that in these works, the figures have internalized the estranged digital subjectivity that has been violently imposed upon them, so that they appear monstrous and disconnected - devoid of any material, emotional or moral anchor.

Nevertheless, it seems that Faytchevitz's works do not simply point to subjective experiences of alienation and estrangement; rather, their very essence opposes itself to such experiences. The manual reappropriation of the digital images, whose high-tech quality is captured in the low-tech medium of watercolors, allows for a small moment of grace: imbued with compassion, the unsteady gestures of the painters' hand are still able to emblematize the human spirit.

Emanuel Faytchevitz was born in Holon (1971). He is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem (1996-2000). Solo exhibitions include: "Golem," Tal Esther Gallery, Tel Aviv (2001); "Hidden Plan," Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art (2003); "New Staff," Tal Esther Gallery, Tel Aviv (2004); "Eclectus," TheHeder Contemporary Art Gallery, Tel Aviv (2007). Group exhibitions include: "Illustration... That's the Story," Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2001); "Thou Shalt Make: The Resurgence of Judaism in Israeli Art," Time for Art, Tel Aviv (2003); "Power," Ha'aretz Art Festival, Tel Aviv (2005); "Pornography My Love," Artists House, Tel Aviv (2007); "Near and Apparent: Connections and Contexts - a Selection from the Benno Kalev Collection," The Tefen Open Museum (2008); "The Roaring Stuffed Animal," Beit Shturman Museum, Ein Harod (2008). Faytchevitz has won the Isracard Prize awarded by the Tel Aviv Museum (2007). He lives and works in Tel Aviv.

Skull, 2008, watercolor on paper, 35 x 50 cm, courtesy of the artist and TheHeder Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, photography: Ami Erlich

Boy, 2008, watercolor on paper, 35 x 50 cm, courtesy of the artist and TheHeder Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, photography: Ami Erlich

Untitled, 2008, watercolor on paper, 120 x 140 cm, courtesy of the Zagury Collection, London, Tel Aviv, photography: Ami Erlich

Scattering Former Love, 2008, watercolor on paper, 137 x 176 cm, the Benno Kalev Collection, Tel Aviv, photography: Ami Erlich

Double Fuck, 2008, watercolor on paper, 87 x 122 cm, courtesy of the artist and the TheHeder Contemporary Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, photography: Ami Erlich