‘The British Museum’
Solo Show by Hili Greenfeld
Israeli Art Musuem, Ramat Gan
Until February 29th, 2016
Curator: Ayelet HaShachar Cohen
Hili Greenfeld’s solo exhibition invites the viewer to wander around the space “First Friday” in a circular path and in uniform increments while pausing and observing the forty lit up installations of sarcophagus figurines. Attached to each figurine is an object resembling a Madeleine, the traditional conch shaped cookie, whose taste awakens, in author Marcel Prost’s Search of a Lost Time Volume I, happy and lost memories.
An altar is placed in the center of the space, with a temple-like object placed on top, spinning slowly. The internal circle of the floor work and the external circle of the observed movement in the space remind us of the additional circles present in different cultures and in nature, and refer to the energy centers and holy places.
The figures, each treated in a different way, receive their character by the artist, who sketches symbols on them, wraps them in pigments and graphite, or seals them with color and conceals their identity. The name of the exhibit stems from a past memory of the artist’s, a memory from her childhood visit to the antiques division of the British Museum, when she ran around in between the mummies and the sarcophagi as if possessed. “I can’t put my finger on what baffled me there, but it was so strong that while we wandered through the museum gift shop, I slipped a pencil case in the shape of a sarcophagus under my puffy coat.”
Also in her previous works, Greenfeld created artificial remnants and versions of human remains serving as a ritual, and inviting the observer to the space like a ceremonial enchantment. The sarcophagi installments in the space “First Friday,” hybrids of figures (a small statue serving as a lucky amulet for fertility) and a sarcophagus (a symbol of death, an receptacle for burying a body), request reference to how they were created and to the proliferation of consumer products, to the popular ritual, and also to the antiques that were uprooted from the original environments and commemorated for its artistic power.
Ayelet HaShahar Cohen, February 2016