Dec 22, 2011 – Feb 26, 2012
Gideon Gechtman, Michal Helfman, Mosher Gershuni, Ohad Meromi, Shahar Freddy Kislev, Shahar Yahalom, Tomer Sapir
The studio is a type of liminal space that enables detachment from ordinary time and place. It allows the artist to examine fundamental concepts and challenge them. The presentation of works in progress, or groundwork, provides a way to peer into the working methods of the artists including what changes occur, what they choose to leave out, and the evolution of the work. It exposes the subconscious of the finished work.
The research and the sketch receive special meaning when they are presented before a finished product exists. At this stage, the presentation reverses the hierarchy of relations between process and the final image. Michal Helfman’s sketches of a work that is not yet executed exposes a multitude of possibilities and narratives, so that the spectator is not directed by Helfman’s choices. Nevertheless, at this point it is already noticeable that certain motifs from her previous work reoccur, and it is hard to detach the present process from the sequence of her works and to look at it as a starting point that exists in a void.
When retrospectively viewing the sketches of works burnt into the collective memory such as Yad Anuga by Moshe Gershuni or Border Crossing by Ohad Meromi, it is hard not to think about the final installations that charge the groundwork, or preparatory work, with additional meanings. Looking at Gershuni’s initial work today is necessarily different from the way these works were perceived before the installation in the exhibition Artist-Society-Artist at the Tel Aviv Museum (curated by Sarah Brightberg- Semel). But also the opposite occurs. The contexts in which the finished works are presented embed a specific image in our conscious that sometimes come at the expense of complexities that were possible beforehand. For example, playing Yad Anuga from the Tel Aviv Museum rooftop in a manner that simulates Muezzin or the installation of “The Boy from South Tel Aviv” in the window of the Helena Rubinstein pavilion. The memory of such installations may not relate to the wider system of questions that were significant at the time of the installation itself- for instance the relationship between body and architecture in Meromi’s work.
Art is not a linear process with its peak visible at the end product. Tomer Sapir accumulated sketches, sculptures and objects in his studio and only when those were presented at the Haifa Museum as a single work made out of a system of vitrines and given a name Research for the Full Crypto-taxidermical Index, was it possible to think of the process of how the work developed and not as an arbitrary collection of sketches. The groundwork presentation by Shahar Yahalom of “Raspberry Land” exhibited next to remnants from the installation itself blurs the boundary between early and late, and between sketch and artwork and emphasizes that for Yahalom, art, like implosion, is a continual process that the finished product is neither its peak nor its end.
Shachar (Freddy) Kislev filmed an experiment in his parents’ house for the installation Death and the Maiden While Kislev was occupied with creating an allegory about human control over nature and over passing time, the experiment reveals different narratives, sensitive and personal. In this way it is difficult to think of the relations between experiment and installation as associations between research and product or process and peak. Also the “Do it Yourself” sketches by Gideon Gechtman from the exhibition Launching Apparatus make it hard to speak about such dual divisions. Even though the preparatory directions were made after the work was actually produced, the manner of presentation in the exhibition did not answer the question, ‘what came before what”- the sketches or the artwork? What appeared as systematic directions for the preparation of Gechtman’s works fulfills a different role and raises a question about the meaning of relationships between artworks and their creational processes.