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The Absent Body - exhibition opening


Opening of new exhibition “The Absent Body”

The Absent Body: Body Imagery between Judaism and Christianity in the Work of Eight Israeli Artists, a new exhibition curated by Irena Gordon, opened at Beit Hatfutsot on July 12. The exhibition features work by eight prominent Israeli artists from the 1970's to the present - Etti Abergel, Larry Abramson, Pesi Girsch, Moshe Gershuni, Erez Israeli, Sigalit Landau, Motti Mizrachi, and Michal Na'aman - on images of both the body and of divinity. This exhibition reveals the complex critical relations between Jewish and Christian thought, their mutually exclusive components, and their influence on one another. It also underscores the centrality of both these traditions to the featured works. These works bespeak the tension between the immateriality of God in Judaism and his concrete material existence in Christianity, while addressing a range of aesthetic and theoretical concerns pertaining to visual representation and its place in Israeli culture.

The concept underlying this exhibition is based on the longstanding understanding that the image of body in Israeli art is never taken for granted, but is rather a constantly elusive presence demanding to be redefined. The Absent Body brings together members of several different artistic generations and stylistically diverse works in a single space, and reveals a central conflict at the heart of secular Israeli experience as it has been given expression over four decades of art.

The Absent Body is concerned with the dialogue between Israeli art and the exploration of Jewish identity in a contemporary, local context. It was preceded by the exhibitions Drama of Identities (2009, curator: Irena Gordon), With this Ring (2010, curator: Raz Samira), and Jewish Icons – Andy Warhol and Israeli Artists (2010, curators: Geula Goldberg and Irena Gordon).

The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual English-Hebrew catalogue featuring selected works from the exhibition, alongside articles by the art historian Gideon Ofrat and the curator Irena Gordon.  

The exhibition, which will be on display until November 2012 and is sponsored by the Israel Friends of Beit Hatfutsot,  the Diamond Charity Foundation, the Marc Rich Foundation, and W Rosenstein Ltd.