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Photography: Mia Gourvitch

Cortigiana \ Hakibbutz Gallery Tel Aviv, Feb- 2017

Noa Tavori

Curator: Yael Kinney



Who is that courtesan, and what am I entitled to as a viewer?

Apparently nothing's happening. The entrance space is empty, apart from a rope I see in other spaces – I'm used to seeing it as a line that I do not cross. The gallery is divided in two. The exhibition can be seen behind the rope. The second passage in front of me is also blocked, only a small opening is left, almost too small for me. At a distance one chair can be seen standing on yellow tiled carpet. That is where the viewer can relax. On the wall behind the rope, Noa sketched a cypress tree with a pencil. Above it she sketched a moon – there, on the gallery wall, she let the world come inside. From the light window that the video opens the artist can be seen as a courtesan. The colorful action is seemingly quoted from another era, a women's world, different and strange; the woman we see has no head and she's practicing her balance on a rope in a universe consisting of a rope, a cypress tree and…the moon.  

The actual space of the gallery is duplicated in the distanced world that is exhibited. Suddenly we are in the theatre, and these things are a part of it. Suddenly, my job, my status, is changed. The exhibition might be relevant to me: am I, are we all, courtesans trying to balance ourselves on the verge of the abyss?   The meaning of the rope as a borderline disappears as well. When the artist recognizes me as that courtesan, perhaps I am invited to enter a life seemingly prohibited till now? There I go, climbing and walking on that rope…I'm the acrobat. The rope is suitable for walking on, dividing the entire gallery. As if it is resolute to stretch itself over the entire world.  In the inner space Noa creates, with a few lines, a picture of the inside of a house. The blocked hallway is the hall, where the artist stuck a copper chandelier, half hidden, with only one bulb festively lightning… the sketched moon is just opposite the chandelier, mixing again the interior with the outside. Further away lay yellow tiles, as if taken from Jeanne Dielman's kitchen**.

In the living room, on a TV screen set in a bookcase, the artist is crawling on the rope, her face covered with a star made of broken mirrors. She's blind, spreading light and offers me to be reflected in those multiple mirrors. Unable to see, she reaches her bare arms to touch the world, and can't. Another moon is sketched on the wall here. The domestic chair that belongs no doubt to the living room, crossed the lines and is "leaking" across the border  rope, and so is the carpet made of tiles underneath. I'm invited to sit comfortably in the chair. If I sit, the tiles will shatter; this time I am a full accomplice.

*Courtesans – artists-entertainers-hostesses and top rated whores that were widespread in Europe between 1600-1800.

**Noa is referring to Chantal Akerman's feministic and revolutionary film "Jeanne Dielman" from 1957. She's quoting a sequence shot almost entirely in the kitchen belonging to the main character. The film starts with a long look at Dielman's back, who performs routine actions indifferently for three and a half hours. cutting, peeling, and in the middle of making chicken breasts, enters the room, sleeps with a customer, puts the cash in the till and goes back to the preparations of  the meal.


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