Still Alive - after Chana Orloff
Photography: Dorit Goddard, Yotam From, Nuno Martins
Still Alive\Nehoshtan Museum -Ashdot Yaakov Feb-Aug 2020
Curator: Smadar Keren
A black moon peeks through a lane of petrified cacti that leads toward dark silhouettes set against an arid landscape. The view changes to pale traces of a horizon line, revealing a green spring at its edge. The eye scans a horizontal path – from an inanimate gray place to a living environment, rich in vegetation. The installation Still Alive (after Chana Orloff), by Noa Tavori, sums up a journey Tavori embarked on two years ago, to track an artwork she has never seen: Chana Orloff's sculpture Mother and Son, from 1952, located in the commemoration site at Ein Gev. The silhouette of the sculpture, by now its emblem, has served as Tavori's starting point. As a self-appointed proxy, she inhabits the figure of the statue, representing through her own body the mother as she carries her child, taking her image on a voyage through various locations in Europe and Israel. In pastoral locations such as public gardens, bodies of water, or urban surroundings, she creates physical interactions with other monuments and statues, alternating between mother and father figures – real and metaphoric – as if seeking a new place for the sculpture.
The current installation draws a line from the Jordan Valley to Europe and back, and from one bank of the Sea of Galilee to its opposite. In the central video, shot at Hukok, Orloff's mother, played by Tavori, meets Yechiel Shemi's Father and Son monument, positioned at the entrance to the kibbutz. The figure of the mother climbs up the statue, stands heroically at the top, and attempts to immerse herself, to become one with it – but she remains a bulge, protruding from the sculpture's boundaries. Another video was shot in Ein Eyov, a bathing site on the north shore of the Kinneret. It shows a seemingly pastoral scene, with the mother and child bathing in the stream in a familial act of purification or ritualistic immersion. The end of the video marks the end of the voyage, perhaps a promise of a new beginning. The two videos are woven into the installation in a sculptural landscape that echoes the silhouette of the statue and creates a sort of eternal petrified garden. In a separate room, a dense array of images is on display – photographs, drawings, and objects that derive from the outline of the sculpture. It is an inventory of items in which Tavori breaks the image down to its components, investigating forms, materials, and models of the sculpture, in an act that seems both as a quazi-obsessive attempt to investigate its DNA and preparation for its re-assembly, perhaps in a different order and with a different narrative.
Still Alive is a personal, visual, and physical study that brings myth as well as private and collective history together. Tavori brings Orloff's sculpture to life with her animation action, but also restricts her own character, to clarify the formation of the myth by postulating the question of what came first – the figure of the symbolic mother in the work or the private mother who had served as a model for it? The installation in its entirety is an alternative monument from the personal viewpoint of Tavori the artist – as a mother, a woman, and a sculptor.
Videography in Hukok and Ein Eyov: Dorit Figovich Goddard
Videography in Lisbon: Nuno Martins
Video editing: Amit Domb
Photography: Amit Domb, Dorit Figovich Goddard, Nuno Martins
GREAT MOTHER four installations and a series of paintings
Curator: Smadar Keren; Assistant Curator: David Chaki