Inaugural Exhibition: Other Space

Pavel Wolberg, Anna, 2011

March 22 – April 30, 2012

Opening reception: Thursday, March 22nd, 8pm

 

Feinberg Projects is pleased to present its inaugural group exhibition Other Space.

The exhibition “Other Space” sets out to re-examine the spaces and territories that define our lives – Spaces within reality and spaces within our consciousness. The artists participating in the exhibition attempt to immortalize their perceptual and actual “wanderings” as they search for this particular “space” in which opposing forces, geographic and cultural territories, different periods of time and contradictory values and definitions co-exist. It is an ex-territorial space that is neither here nor there, while we inhabit a zone in which darkening clouds of war and nuclear destruction constantly indicate the transient nature of the place we live in.

At an age of global and mass communication, we are exposed to an endless amount of virtual and actual spaces that signify a distorted reflection of our values and utopias. For example, the ‘Big Brother” household: An apparently private residential space that is also utopian in terms of its seductive, cutting-edge design, is actually a provisional structure which is utilized to fulfill only one specific function – A spectacle for the eyes of the television audience, twenty-four hours a day.

The works in the exhibition represent the pursuit of a Hetrotopian space, a term coined by Michel Foucault (Hetro-other, Topos –space). Foucault deals with conventional definitions of spaces that we experience and internalize from infancy and, by contrast, points to places that represent the inverse of these values, inviting new rules of conduct and social conventions. Foucault examines places such as cemeteries, brothels, a ship at sea, territories under conflict, a motel in the middle of nowhere America e.t.c. Within Hetrotopian arenas, definitions of inside and outside, ownership of territory, occupation and colonialism are re-evaluated.

These thoughts concerning “space” are reverberated at The Feinberg Projects exhibition space. The way in which the space is stylized to some extent, refutes conventional definitions of exhibition methods and the notion of the gallery as a neutral public space. The design exemplifies a blurring between the private domain (residential apartment) and the public sphere (Gallery). In this respect, a reflection and disqualification of our automatic expectation as viewers takes place:

“There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places – places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society – which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality. From the standpoint of the mirror I discover my absence from the place where I am since I see myself over there. Starting from this gaze that is, as it were, directed toward me, from the ground of this virtual space that is on the other side of the glass, I come back toward myself; … The mirror functions as a Heterotopia in this respect: it makes this place that I occupy at the moment when I look at myself in the glass at once absolutely real, connected with all the space that surrounds it, and absolutely unreal, since in order to be perceived it has to pass through this virtual point which is over there. .. As a sort of simultaneously mythic and real contestation of the space in which we live….”

Through their work, the artists create a new space, engaging in a process where diagrams and plans of spaces are recognized and processed along the rims of their consciousness. The new spaces that where realized within this consciousness, combine to construct the exhibition that in itself, contains a variety of styles and perspectives. The works, each on its own and as part of the whole exhibition, attempt to delineate a new method of marking this space.

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In the piece “Paper Weights Video” by Roy Menachem Markovich, we see photographed miniature models of buildings and prime pieces real estate that are made from ephemeral materials. It is a demarcation and reminder of “charged” spaces, such as the Azrieli building and the Tsameret Towers. The paper weights that represent them are captured in a style that is informed by the shopping channel or video advertisements that are displayed in the hallways of hotel lobbies. These buildings and signs are miniaturized into fictitious objects. This transformation turns those into Hetrotopian spaces that in an ironic manner, abide to socio/capitalistic “values” that sanctify these objects for sale and the areas of real estate that they signify. Involuntarily, we find ourselves caught within the aesthetic and the jovial elevator music soundtrack that accompanies the video. In this manner, the piece reflects our automatic reactions that glorify signs, buildings and objects.

Ran Slavin‘s performance piece is constructed from Hetrotopian elements that come into being: An ongoing transformation takes place when a text and its meaning erupts into lights and sounds in movement. He creates an interactive sonic space that morphs and breaks in real-time. His works engage in a “random” aesthetic that draws from reality as well as imaginary spaces, to create a distinct and singular transitional space.

Diti Almog‘s artworks project her preoccupation with architectural spaces and perspective. It seems as though the outside enters the inside as the horizon line sometimes bursts forth into the foreground, or intervenes from outside of the picture plane, this, contained within a window. From her perspective as an Israeli artist living in New York, she attempts to find and invent her personal artistic territory. Present and absent at the same time,  the works invite us to look into the distance and find a space that contains different values and contradicting rules that exist there simultaneously, legitimizing an “other” space which is a personal, Hetrotopian theatrical set of her own.

Talia Keinan describes the creative process of her collages as involving events that take place during the activity of drawing, whilst the consciousness is already in a state of observation and focus. At this particular point, surprises and connections occur between elements that exist around her in the studio. They conflate within the Hetrotopian space in her collage, and merge with current imagery that Keinan creates or photographs by herself. In this manner, they are placed within a framework in which the viewer beholds the past and an “other” space simultaneously. The arrangement of the collage integrates them into one space.

Pavel Wolberg documents approximately twenty years of his photography from around the world: Territories under conflict and calamity. The uniqueness of his photographs is expressed through his ability to transform journalistic photography from the real world into an image whose metaphorical meaning deviates from the territory and the time in which it was photographed. The photograph “Kosovo” presents a temporary living space of a refugee in Kosovo, where the objects of his fantasies are glued to the paper walls. The photograph “Ana 2011” includes a lobby in a hotel in Ethiopia, where east and west are muddled up in a disturbing mishmash, naive paintings of wild animals are hung on the walls, a television, plastic chairs and a bottle of mineral water occupy the space.

Hetrotopian sites that were destroyed by modernism are the subject of Elad Kopler‘s works. Kopler, recipient of the rapport prize for painting 2012, creates terrifying apocalyptic spaces. We see fences that symbolize border checkpoints, creating power relations between that which dominates and that which is controlled as well as spaces trapped within a grid that blocks the horizon line and the sky. In his mind, these reflect “The shattering of the bourgeoisie dream of self-fulfillment at the sight of a nuclear threat, an ongoing war and the religious rule in the land.”

The piece “Agave plant” by Gali Grinspan is inspired by this very plant. The sculpture of the plant is rooted within a pedestal and looks “domesticated”, as opposed to the Agave plant which in reality, is a wild growth that grows in the public Hetrotopian realm: It can be found on road sides, in street margins, in Muslim cemeteries and even in the back yard of a Tel-Aviv housing complex. It is an exceptionally resilient plant that survives in abandoned sites, where there are no other plants left. The piece accentuates the collapse – defeat aspect of the plant that is camouflaged by the aesthetic pleasure generated from the shapes of the bent leaves.

The space that Oren Ben Moreh conjures up in the piece “I hear someone” is a kind of a set comprised of emptied hallucinatory, illusionistic spaces that represent ‘threshold’ universe. These are restless worlds that exist in between fantasy and reality. The painting does not reflect the real, but sheds a light on the contradicting elements and layers within it. Ben More uses pastel colored planes to create dense surfaces where the layers mask one another, whilst on the other hand they challenge the opaque space as they pour light onto it and expose a new meaning.

 

Yham Hameiri, March 2012