Holy Hobby

2015, A joint exhibition of Anat Maoz and Eran Inbar, Curated by Yonatan H. Mishal

Cremschnitte

1/11

All objects are prepared to be outdated. They don’t care. If you asked a porcelain cup what was it made for, it would’t know whether to prefer being served with a little biscuit at five o’clock tea, or being thrown into the trash after being shattered into countless small, razor-sharp, shiny shards on the kitchen floor. Objects do not exist for the purpose intended for them at the time they were made. Objects are intended to define the person who holds them, and people accumulate those objects so they can help point to their identity, culture, origin, status, preferences, needs and lifestyle. A homeless person will hoard a cart full of plastic bags inside other plastic bags, while the owner of a mansion will live alone in a mansion with twenty rooms, each of which is arranged anew every day. Both are equally pointless, since neither of them have anyting to do with all the property they own. But the sequence of objects create a text: the materials they are made of, their production processes, the traditions, rules, and norms involved in their use, the way in which they were obtained, their specific history and family history. A steel watch with a star engraving on its back passed on in the family for generations, or embroidered lace tablecloths. These reveal the larger picture not only of the individual person, but of the entire context of his culture and his relative position within it. The tapestry of a person’s belongings is readable and clear, pointing to his complex relationships with his environment. It’s easy to reconize what is original, what was invented or copied. It is impossible to completely restore old furniture, or produce the crystal goblets as they appear, tidy and clear, in the heavy wooden display cases in our parents’ living rooms.

In the joint exhibition of Anat Maoz and Eran Inbar, nostalgia for the culture that remains dusty in our grandparents’ homes dramatically encounters the generation gap of current reality.

In Inbar’s works, local objects take on the delicate fragility of the best fashions from the nineteen thirties and forties. The raw materials come from the street, from scraps collected from inheritances, items that must have belonged to people who attributed them with emotional and historical significance. Inbar’s objects balance the respect for real or imagined qualities of their former existence with self-criticism and humor. Inbar places his raw materials, still holding the legacy of the objects that he finds, into the studio, from which they exit with their genealogical traces still ingrained, but with new appearance, existence and purpose— as objects of art, like a circus show of wild animals, with fear and desire operating simultaneously.

For Maoz, the patterns and shapes of her childhood—the wallpaper flowers, the delicate outlines of household items, the craftsmanship of carved decorations on the walls—are part and parcel of her art. Cultural abundance appears in her arm stroke, and enters directly into Maoz’s picturesque contemporary interpretation of the world surrounding her, particularly the domestic space and the everyday objects of her life. The work refers to the current reality with colors and textures taken from another time, now updated in context and operating in contradiction to the concept of linear time. The past in her work is a possibility for a new future.

Joint works that were created by the two artists are also displayed in the show, with the necessary connection between Inbar’s objects and Maoz’s paintings, which draw inspiration from the same visual world. Meshuna Gallery, with its huge glass display windows and its history as a Herzl Street furniture store, is the most appropriate platform for the temporary home that Maoz and Inbar have established. The sense of fragility, the memories stored in the walls, and the works themselves bring back to life the rytham, the material, the neat formal patterns of European culture, inviting them to assimilate into the Mediterranean region, to exist here, with us, in the Israeli chaos.

 

Yonatan H. Mishal, Curator

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