The Landlord and the Lodgers 2020
With works by Daya Belzer, Daphna Shavit, Paz Sher, and Yechiel Shemi. Group show at Atelier Shemi, Kibbutz Kabri, curator: Avishai Platek
Located at Kibbutz Kabri, Atelier Shemi was the studio of late painter and sculptor Yechiel Shemi (1922–2003). The works by the young artists featured in the show carry elements from Shemi’s body of work, a dynamic that is at the heart of the show: The sculpture by each of those three artists are held together and mutually intertwined.
The sculptures are made to fit a human measure, as though one could (almost) use them: One work is something of a work tool, another could provide a rest for leaning one’s head on, and a third compels the body into movement. Their installation together forms a particular place, a locality on a scale intended for a group of people, a society. Some of the works were produced jointly, beginning as a sculpture by one artist, to be welded anew – during show’s installation – into collective works by Shemi and the participating artists.
Is Yechiel Shemi the landlord, master of the premises? And are the artists, in turn, his lodgers? Indeed, but not just. Because such definitions are shifting, they may pertain to the one or the other based on the action they take. For the show’s durations, the guest artists have also become landlords – by the unique artistic actions they perform, such that invite use or active participation.
The show is laid out so that visitors, coming in through the gate, walk around to seek out the various trajectories laid down, their eyes wondering between the levels. From the central space, upon hearing sounds of percussion, they move to a smaller room, mounted with large-format paintings of Shemi that are joining an installation by Daphna Shavit. This coming together forms Critical Mass, an installation whose central part comprises of tens of platters, suspended and carrying mounds of earth. The viewers that gather here sway their bodies to the sound of African beats coming from a circle of “drums”. Each mound is balanced on an individual plate. The slightest tilt might trigger a chain reaction reverberating throughout the piece, as do the waves of sound, with the constant potential of undermining the balance.
The landlord and lodgers need each other equally, crucially, as they each release their counterpart from the jail of their respective time period. The master of the premises – commanding the space, fixed and permanent, present – over and against hitchhikers stopping by in the charm of their youth, agility, mobility, their presence ephemeral. As true vagabonds they are here – then gone, laying down their roots as they climb up a tree to waggle its treetop.
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