Alon Kedem: Self Production

Photographed by Ami Erlich


Self Production

Curator: Yham Hameiri

January 29 – March 7, 2015
Opening reception: Thursday, January 29, 2015

In Alon Kedem’s paintings complex entanglements of human beings, x-ray machines, production lines of figures and body parts constitute works full of humor that by their nature elude the expectations created by a theoretical system.  They create an attempt – connected with foregone failure – at organization and order.  The works are found in transition, in an interim world of examination, scrambling, in processes but without conclusions. What we get is an entanglement that alternately becomes more involved and unwinds, an entanglement of interactions between originality and acceptance of tradition as a basis for inventive ability, between rebellion and unity. At the center of this knot is the person being painted along with the observer, pushed aside and repulsed due to the contradictions between his differentness and his passions for frustrating involvement with others.

Processes of destruction and creation are at work in parallel in these works. The synthesis between them refuses to be attained, only a diffused concentration is created. Failure is taken into account together with the attempt to examine disciplined patterns and paradigms by which those successes and failures are built.  The works refuse to pass a “reality test”, the x-ray machines fail to reflect it properly, and as a result judgment of reality remains borderline. The portrait reflected by the work remains clear and familiar, while simultaneously alienated and foreign.

The machines that constitute part of the assembly line attempt to make the processes become “efficient and objective”, to provide binary responses, or useful products.  All of this exalted effort is useless, together with the attempt to offer a clear conclusion. Instead, the works provide considerable room for interpretation – “scrambling.”  This scrambling, then, is a sort of painting mechanism, associated with symbols, images, that ‘fall’ over one another and one on top of another, as they turn the painting into an acting arena.

“All of life, then, is a kind of creative, continuous game (so that art itself will be part of the universal creative phenomenon). The in-between area of this experience,” explains psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, is “the place in which we live.” This place is the site of experience. As it appears in Kedem’s works, it is forever a yearning for the life of sustenance and significance, a life of clinging to reason. The place of contemplation and interpretation is the only thing that enables setting things in order, even if briefly. As Winnicott implies here, Order cannot be comprehended as “objective” or “subjective”, but as something that blends the two domains, while the interplay between them leads naturally to a cultural experience, and actually serves as its foundation. These “cultural products” are perceived as a dimension of ‘constant illusion’, as a means to fulfillment of a sense of self concept, whose essence is the creative life experience of ‘constant creation’.

Although apparently neutral, these approaching and receding works cast forth a woolen thread like the one Ariadne gave to Theseus in Greek mythology. The thread leads to a frontal encounter with the Minotaur, the ultimate monster, and at the end of the scrambling – perhaps by means of that same thread, the observer will find his way out of the Labyrinth.

Yham Hameiri – January 2015


Alon Kedem (1982) studied for his undergraduate degree from 2005-2009, and the MFA program at Bezalel (2012-2014).  His works have been exhibited at several group shows in Israel and abroad, and at a solo show in honor of receiving the Moses Award for a young artist, 2011-12.  Kedem was chosen to participate in the Book and exhibition “100 Painters of Tomorrow“, published by Thames & Hudson (London, 2014).  The book’s committee included selected figures in the contemporary art world, among them artist Cecily Brown (New York), writer and art critic Barry Schwabsky (New York), curators Yoko Hasegawa (Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan), and Gregor Muir (Institute for Contemporary Art, London). Kedem’s works are found in a number of private and public collections, in Israel and abroad.