This selection of artworks was conceived as a suite, with an unfurling akin to a musical score where the pieces are not to be viewed independent of one another. While all of these works are interrelated, the viewer will only discover their link as they experience the series’ narrative, which reveals and “rewrites” itself in infinite ways.
Structurally similar to Chinese nested boxes, a story is contained within another story. Both individual and collective lived experiences are conveyed through detailed drawings in both mottled or empty spaces.
Viewers will find borderlines marking an “outside” and an “inside,” boundaries cautioning us that we are not always the ones who choose which side we are on.
Grasping the totality of an immense space or of a complex statement cannot always be immediately understood. Similarly, the fragmented nature of a concept or a work of art makes it difficult to fully comprehend.
Accepting that we are faced with a piece that belongs to something much greater facilitates our understanding. *1
In this body of work, fragments function as a pattern where explicit or subtle clues inevitably reveal the exhibit’s greater meaning.
The exhibition’s title was borrowed -with permission- from an article by Silvia Hopenhayn*2 where the author describes life on the balconies during the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many of these works were created during this period when our homes became our refuge. streets emptied, stores shuttered, and our neighbors suddenly became a threat.
Such is the case in “Dwelling in the Time of Plagues,” which expresses the confusion of time and space that we experienced when unfamiliar gazes inhabited our private space via computer screens and other electronic devices, which now light up at all hours, both connecting us by creating artificial intimacy and distancing us more than ever.
The project “The house Is in the book” stems from this desire to overcome isolation in search of encounter and connection and was created in collaboration with artists Andi Arnovitz (Jerusalem), Lynna Avadenka (Detroit), Mirta Kupferminc (Buenos Aires), and curated by Emily D. Bilski (Jerusalem)*3. Three artists residing in different continents and different time zones created a shared shelter: an artist book and the video “Threshold”(Umbral), with filmmaker Mariana Sosnowski and the musician Ernesto Romeo for the original soundtrack .
The arrival of 2022, when the pandemic has not yet ended, has also brought new wars and a growing number of millions of exiles seeking asylum as their home countries have been decimated and reduced to rubble.
The words of the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights*4, written in languages of migrating communities, are woven into the works “Exile as a Homeland” and “Without a Land.”
Rather than a protective veil however, the web of words is analogous to a snare of barbed wire.
The piece “On this Side of the Horizon” addresses consequences of our species’ excesses and its impact on our climate and planet.
A combination of multiple graphic techniques and manual interventions transform each work in this exhibit in a unique way. Thermoplastic polymer, the base material for many of these pieces, was also used to produce medical supplies during the pandemic.
Contemplating this body of art summons us to “journey from immobility” as stated by Catalan author Enrique Vila-Matas*5 when revisiting the 1794 writings of Xavier de Maistre in his book A Journey Around My Room*6. Vila-Matas writes:
“… Let’s not question it any longer. From our dwelling space, without going out onto any street whatsoever, we have been given a great gift (which we so often forget) of seeing the sphere through which we can grasp the universe’s synchronicity.”
*1 Teoria Del Fragmento (Theory of the Fragment) – Bartoszynski, K. editores Valencia/ 1998
*2 Silvia Hopenhayn –Diario Perfil- 15/05/2020
*3 Emily D. Bilski- “The House Is in the Book” 2021- Jerusalem Print Workshop- Jerusalem Biennale
*5 Enrique Vila-Matas- Diario El País- 02/01/2010- Viaje alrededor de mi habitación de. Xavier de Maistre, 1794
*6 Xavier de Maistre, Voyage autour de ma chambre (A Journey Around My Room) 1794.