Asylum alumni, Keren Anavy & Tal Frank presented their collaborative exhibition, “Between Beauty, Memory and Form, 2017”, at Feria Universitaria del Libro, Autonomous University of Hidalgo State in Mexico this past August. This project is under development for a much larger exhibition to be held in Mexico City in early 2018.
Visual artists Keren Anavy and Tal Frank, have been collaborating in an ongoing research project for several years that explores the dynamic relationship between nature and culture through the lens of specific sites and locations. Their collaborations combine different languages of artistic expression including sculpture, painting, drawing, sound and video art. They have previously worked on three projects that have been exhibited in three site-specific installations in Israel: Beauty and Other Forms (2016), Mane’-Katz Museum, Haifa; Crossover (2013), Feinberg Projects Contemporary Art Gallery, Tel Aviv; and Hothouse (2012), Dan Gallery for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv. All projects were conceptually connected, yet each had its own unique visual language.
The artists shared a common studio space in Tel Aviv over the last five years, which included painting and sculpture workshops in wood and metal. Since 2015, they continue to work together while living in New York, Mexico City and Tel Aviv. Between Beauty, Memory and Form is their new joint project and first exhibition outside of Israel. This exhibition reflects the personal and artistic changes undergone by the artists in the last two years.
Between Beauty, Memory and Form, 2017
Between Beauty, Memory and Form explores the way culture reflects the natural world around it. The exhibition is a site-specific installation that includes oil paintings on linen, wood installation and stones.
During the work on the exhibition, the artists chose to refer to the Hidalgo district in Mexico where the exhibition took place and to connect it with Israel. They chose to focus on a central archeological site within the district: The Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque, originally constructed between 1553 and 1570. The aqueduct stretches 45 kilometers (28 mi) long, located between the towns of Zempoala, Hidalgo, and Otumba in the State of Mexico. The artists related the images and symbolic concepts of Tembleque Aqueduct with ancient aqueducts in Israel, and their connection to water, which is a significant and lacking resource in Israel. The installation also includes pyrite stones purchased in Mexico City. This stone is also known as “Fool’s Gold”, and considered the most common of the sulfide minerals. In ancient Roman times, this name was applied to several types of stone that would create sparks when struck against steel.
Water, diamond and stone are the main images in this installation and function as a metaphor that reference political and social notions. The oil paintings, inspired by images of diamonds which are desired and treasured, are displayed alongside the Fool’s Gold stones and offer an alternative fantastical reality. It’s an image whose form is sketched and painted as though wearing and stripping its form anew. It is a charged and familiar image, usually composed from a model with inherent regularity. The images created in this project undergo transformations and deformations, recalling these shapes both formally and conceptually. They project a universal context that draws a connection between nature, science and culture.
The installation contains imagery and subject matter that is disconnected from their previous meaning and context, and as a result, transforms into a visual experience that examines the power existing in shapes around us – architecture, objects, or nature.