Encounter. 4 Artist Exhibition, Kyoto, Japan, 2017
4 artists, 4 lives converge in Kyoto. We meet here, a city of art, culture, history and future possibilities. We come from Israel, Slovenia, Poland and Britain and somehow it clicks. We hit it off. From the first spark of connection we talked, laughed, exchanged views, listened deeply to each other, wanted to learn from each other and to do something creative together. We use different media – photography, mixed media, sumi ink. This exhibition is a result of our encounter, and the first step of a new journey exploring what it may bring.
Restoration, mixed media on paper, 14.9X21 cm, 2013
Please enlarge images to enjoy them fully.
Recycling Postcards Project from the collection
with Zohar Jolles, 2013
Seven sticks, 2012
Installation, Matsuno Taisha Shrine, Arashiyama
Two sticks, 2012
Installation, Yoshida Shrine, Kyoto
Boat Carrying Cypress Tree, 2011
Boat and two cypress trees growing from it is an image that is deeply interesting for me to investigate.
Last weekend I was one of 25 participants in a calligraphy intensive day with Tirza Paytan-Sela. I was practicing the Enso; When you paint-draw an Enso, you do it from left up-words and then down. Usually the heavy part of ink is at the start. Somehow, this whole day the weight was at the end of each Enso. The image with its opening on the bottom, made me think it can also be symbol of a women giving birth to a baby; I saw it as a womb making place, opening for the baby to deliver out into the world. A human mother giving birth, presented to mother earth below.
My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west, Artist book, 2011 ליבי במזרח ואנוכי בסוף מערב
Yehuda Halevy [1075-1141] wrote these lines in Spain about his longing to Jerusalem. My longing to Japan is round around planet earth, from 32’ to 35’ where Kyoto is. Pilgrims gather stamps from temples they arrive at- into their shrine stamp book.
My path east is marked by Japanese ink and brush on washi paper into a visual text. When my stamp book is displayed upon a mirror, the Cypress trees become boats with masts. It can be read from right to left or vice versa. It can be read from Sky to Earth and vice versa.
The round longing line hugging planet earth is constant.
When dispalyed on a mirror: 140X30X15cm.
Shrine stamp book, Site specific art, 2011
My eyes were attracted to the stairs leading into the hills above Yoshida Shrine. I took my shrine stamp book and put it on a stair. The wind blew and leafed the pages.
Counting to TEN,Site specific art, 2011
Counting and listing organizes, relaxes, gives a sense of order to our life. At the same time, counting leaves in a zen garden is as a constant as a cherry petal that is dropping and leaving the tree at this precise moment. If you follow Euclid through tags, you will find more shadows.
Leaf and Idol, 2010
Drawing-writing exercise in Japanese notebook I found in a shop in Kyoto.
Japanese ink 23X40 cm.
Mending Tools, Installation, 2010
Mending Tools is an installation that integrates childhood memories, theory of dream research, and objects from the chemistry laboratory of the artist’s father. His archive cards were the base for small paintings, and some Hieroglyphs by Avraham Ofek were sketched on them. Concealed in the top drawer is an essay by Dr. Gideon Ofrat to be taken and read by the viewers. The text relates to the work and is an integral part of it. All elements are gathered to create a mending process, a metamorphosis. In alchemical terms it is an experiment – an attempt to distill gold out of all the different materials. Height: 110 cm, width: 140 cm, Depth 50 cm
I alter books I brought from my parents’ home. They are weary containers of what is written in them, the translation from European languages into Hebrew, and the individuals reading them. They are the first layer of my palimpsest artist books.
Excavations, Video Art, 2008
This video deals with change, movement and the attempt to capture the moment of formation. The artist uses photographs of pits in the sand. Some of them contain drawings of animals. The photographs change successively. The artist has breathed life and movement into the object. Just as the waves erase human footprints, so the image disappears to be replaced by another. This art work is a metaphor for our short and fragile existence; what is left is memory: This video recalls our archetypical memories of the first men caves, animal drawings, ancient inscriptions, and ritual objects. The flat setting of the screen on a podium, while the audience walks around, brings to mind, archeological remains on displayed or even Mummies in glass boxes. The repetition of pictures and walking around them also recalls rituals which the audience participate in. Every time a photograph changes you hear the sound of a slide projector. This technical sound echoes the waves that erase the sand castle we built. Thus, the work has a sense of irony about man’s hubris and wanting to rule nature. This video developed from the instillation “Pit of memory and Oblivion”, 2001, Maritime Museum, Haifa, Israel
.War Diary, Mixed media on wood 27x17x1cm 2006-2007
These documentary works were created in the summer of 2006 during the second Lebanon war. Text massages from the men in the battle field (friends, relatives) are part of the iconography of this series. Additionally there are cypress trees, a Mediterranean symbol for eternity and death, and boxes that represent sarcophagus. This series conveys the notion of a very significant place, a place of great pain and great love.
Cyprian Icons series, 2006-2010
Cyprian Icons series began while sailing as a beginner skipper to Cypress.At Larnaka’s Port I collected wood rafts I found. Most of them were used to base the boats that were being painted. Some had blue drops. I thought that by using some gold, perhaps a cypress tree- they will be identified as the young sisters of Ancient icons found in the archeological museum in Lefkcosia.
Memorial Day, 2005
Cypress trees are deeply related in the Mediterranean cultures to death and eternity. These trees I see from my home are also a lovely viewpoint. Every year on the Memorial day a siren is heard all over Israel. People stop everything and stand. I took this footage on a memorial day standing outside looking at the trees. I share it on the Internet once a year as a candle.
Incessant Mezuzha, 2005
“Incessant Mezuzah” is a cyclical video artwork dealing with deficiency and absence, and unceasing persistence in bringing the past back to life. Wherever Jews have lived – be it Marrakesh, Lodz, Singapore or Moscow – one finds remains of Jewish life on the doorposts: hollow depressions, scratches, faded paint, loose nails. Here was a Mezuzah. Here lived Jews. No other culture I know deals with this particular spot in a dwelling. A tiny monitor is affixed to the right doorpost in place of the Mezuzah. It screens a three-minute video loop: A hand is spreading paint, writing, re-writing, spreading paint, writing and spreading again ad infinitum. The viewer undergoes a meditative threshold experience. This is a rather troubling transitional spot − neither in nor out. Likewise, this artwork reflects the essence of the Mezuzah on the perceptible threshold between traditional praxis and digital suggestion. This video artwork represents a personal interpretation of the Mezuzah text and of its actual writing process. Only part of the traditional text appears. Some words are preferred to others, both in meaning and in form. The artist does not wish to have stipulations and punishments inscribed on her doorpost. The words Shema (“hear”) and Shamayim (“sky”) touch at the end of each loop. The writing implement is not the sacred quill pen held by a trained scribe having immersed in the Mikveh (ritual bath) at dawn; rather, the writing hand is a woman’s hand, the letters immediate and almost childlike. “Incessant Mezuzah” has been acquired by the Jewish Museum in New York in 2005
Hebrew dictionary pages were my starting point for using words as signs, symbols, matter, form and meaning. I added lines, collage, paint in order to enhance one of the words chosen on the right.
Land Slides and Earthquake Dating, 2003
Wall Mezuzah, 2003
A Wall Mezuzah was commissioned by the curator Gideon Ofrat. A site specific work to adorn the entrance to the exhibition named: “Thou shall make unto thee a graven image…”The exhibition took place in at Time For Art Gallery in Tel Aviv, . The entrance of the gallery was carves with vertical 1m cut. It was mended with plaster and written and painted over and over. It became a palimpsest during 3 days of intensive work. It finally became a Mezuzah.This palimpsest on the right hand side of the gallery gained history of a very intense personal and spiritual process as the day of light changed.This art work was the path to Incessant Mezuzah video art work.
Pit of Memory and Oblivion, 2001
The Pit of Memory and Oblivion installation deals with change and periodicity, and the attempt to capture the moment of formation. The use of static photography and successive slides creates life and movement. Like waves erasing human footprints on the beach, the image disappears from the floor to be replaced by another, slightly different one. The light and darkness, and the succession of images, stand for waves to function as surges of memory followed by oblivion. Walking in the dark around the circles of light – the sand pits – engages the viewer in an intimate experience. The pits evoke associations of graves, wells and rituals. The installation also serves as a virtual excavation, attempting to dig at random like the digging carried out on the beach, to be erased by the sea. The images painted and integrated into the pits started with a drawing of a door hinge set on the artist’s workbench at her studio. This door hinge also functions as a torso in The 1000 Drawings Series, and as a brooch within the archaeological collection included in Tel Nona – Finds from the Mound. The Tel Nona exhibition was displayed at the National Maritime Museum in Haifa, 2001
Tel-Nona – Large Remains, 2000
Large Remains are monumental wall sculptures compounded of plaster and pigments and installed on wire mesh and iron frames. The inspiration for Large Remains came from an image in one of Orbach’s drawings, which she expanded into three-dimensional sculptures. “I wanted to enlarge this image in direct proportion to the human body and be able to look at it. I had an urge to infuse it with tri-dimensional life. Indeed, it may resemble a shield, a boat, a head, a torso. Thus I have succeeded in expanding and intensifying the image, expropriating it from its bi-dimensionality.” The artist views these sculptures as meditative, associative objects, expressing her desire to create objects of ambiguous origin, vacillating between culture and nature. This ambiguity may lead the viewers to wonder whether they are looking at a petrified boat or a mammoth’s tooth, an ancient shield or a giant fish. The sculptures’ texture is deceptive, making it seem as if they are still evolving. The viewer may feel he is witnessing a process of erosion. Time plays an important role here, as a coworker in the creative process. The sculptures’ form is simple and austere, yet they are impressively large and texturally rich. They are androgynous, forming a wraparound, some resembling a keel viewed from underneath. Sarcophagus is a boat-like object lying on the floor. It is made of plaster aggregates compounded onto iron frame and mesh. Inside, close to the upper rim, Orbach has inscribed in black ink (in Hebrew): “We nestled in a bubble, plastered it thoroughly, Padded its walls with saws and rakes And glass shards, turquoise and green. And hadn’t known that evil was already among us. At its four corners we fixed Paper chariots, Carrying an oath on their wings, Sailing on their pedestals.” An animal’s vertebra affixed to the prow of the Sarcophagus evokes the figureheads of goddesses adorning ships’ stemheads in various cultures, or the Chalcolithic rods decorated with animal heads and serving as ritual objects found at the Cave of the Treasure in Wadi Mishmar. In order to read the inscription on the inner rim, the viewer must circle the object, taking part, in effect, in a ceremonial rite, as in the Pit of Memory and Oblivion. The Tel Nona exhibition was displayed at the National Maritime Museum in Haifa, 2001
Tel Nona – Finds from the Mound, 2000
Tel Nona – Finds from the Mound is a collection of readymade articles that time has eroded, changing their shape and purpose and making them pose as archeological finds. Objects not yet singled out and defined, constituting the collection’s subconsciousness, are displayed in a glass-covered workbench. Only after selecting the items and removing them from her workbench does the artist provide them with a title, which imbues them with new significance and life. “I have been collecting twisted screws, rusty hinges, driftwood, crooked wire and old horseshoes for years. Their shapes arouse a powerful esthetic sensation in me and I find them loaded with spiritual and psychological values. Through personal and collective memory, sensual observation and greed, my consciousness is calibrated into collecting articles and figurines whose shapes I have known since childhood, from my frequent visits to the archaeological wing of the Israel Museum – especially ones that remind me of Chalcolithic and Canaanite findings. “I am the digger at Tel Nona, and I am also the one being dug. The excavation takes place in the personal as well as the cultural space. I have come to realize that the more meticulous I am about digging my person, the stronger the cultural echo.” The Tel Nona exhibition was displayed at the National Maritime Museum in Haifa, 2001
The 1000 Drawings Series, 1995
A fixed format had been chosen for this series – 1000 square sheets of paper, all of equal size (35X35 cm.) – in an attempt to explore compositional possibilities within a predetermined framework. Using pencils, oil pastels and collage, Orbach juxtaposes diverse drawing forms such as could be found in prehistoric cave paintings, where drawings are layered upon drawings by previous generations. The drawings, minimalist in nature, leave lots of space for the viewer’s associations. Certain images recur in the drawings – boat, leaf, cypress, desk, vase, and wheel. They deal with decomposition and formation, similitude and the polylogue of the artist’s personal symbols. The exploration of the artist’s inner language takes place by drawing comparisons and parallels. The predetermined format affords security and constancy within the endless bounds of the language game of drawing. “Cypress and boat alternate in my work, both in form and in meaning: a cypress signifies a cemetery, the end of life. But it had also been the edge of the orange grove immediately adjacent to the colony, protecting it from the winds. It is a guardian of both life and death. The cypress and the boat have a similar composition .Both are characterized by a Giacometti-like elongation, which I consider very spiritual. Entire cultures have evolved around death. In fact, one does not find any real culture that has no reference to death. The cypress and the boat are male and female, respectively, and signify the contrast between the animate and the inanimate. The cypress represents the yearning for strength, height and grounding as well as spirituality and breath. The boat, presented in its elongated form, like the cypress, suggests water, and therefore femininity. The boat’s subdivision into compartments symbolizes complexity and the ability to contain. My cypress has no branches. It is not elaborate. Both cypress and boat are also associated in my mind with the Dogon sculptures of Mali, whose elongated forms and spirituality inspire me greatly and arouse my sense of identification. Boat, leaf, and cypress are bound by their herringbone pattern and ladder-like design, which serve both as divisional and rhythmical factors and as a means for unearthing their substructure.” The 1000 Drawings series has been drawn in the span of a few months of daily meditative process in 1995-6.