Good Girls, Dead Girls (23/07/2009 - 6/9/2009)
This exhibition features five women artists: Michal Yaniv, Foma<3, Orly Hummel, Michal Ronen, and Diti Kapuano.
Curator: Meital Raz
The artists spin a web of ties between body, sexuality, and violence. Their protagonists exist within a ritual ceremony in a space between the impure and the pure, the voyeuristic and the intimate. Each one of them toys with crossing the thin border between the "normal" adult sexuality and the childish, pervert one – between "children's games" and "adult games".
The common thread in the works of these five artists is the close connection they create between the sexual body and the dead body, an equation that is inherently paradoxical, since on the one hand, from its very beginning, feminism struggled against the conception that identifies the female body as an object of loathe and danger, and as a hole in which death and destruction lurk. On the other hand, the preoccupation with sexuality, through death and violence that accompanies it, is a kind of self-exploration, since every identity is shaped by a violent struggle. The desire to cause pain or to experience it actually strives to exceed boundaries, while defining them at the same time.
This exhibition's name is a paraphrase on the name of one of the most important exhibitions in the recent decades that constituted a landmark in feminist art history. The exhibition was held in New York in 1994, and featured dozens of female artists (as well as a few male artists), whose harsh undermining of the feminine modes of representation gave them the name "Bad Girls"'.
This present exhibition examines – fifteen years later – the influence of those spiritual female ancestors on the five artists, and at the same time, their relevance in an age when it seems that the feminist discourse has reached a saturation point and is conceived nowadays as deterring, bothersome, and even unnecessary.
There is no doubt that the fear to contend with the feminist issue dominates this whole exhibition, and it seems that the artists present an ambiguous, confused and confusing position, ranging from the extreme seriousness to the wild satire that addresses feminism's bad reputation. There is no doubt that this position characterizes today many female artists, who are reluctant to deal with this issue, and who avoid their definition as feminist artists or as creative women like the plague.
Born in 1979, a graduate of HaMidrasha School of Art.
In a technique ranging from painting to laboriously produced ink writing, Yaniv embodies in her work elements of neo-Gothicism, and creates a kind of a sadistic aesthetics, being inspired by eccentric artists such as Mathew Barney and Joel Peter Witkin.
Covered by gas masks and wearing fetish props, Yaniv's protagonists take part in a theatrical ceremony of pain and pleasure. She describes them as being in a state of self-satisfaction on the one hand, and in a state of self-destruction on the other hand.
It seems as though her protagonists are victims of the pervert masculine voyeurism, but a closer look reveals, like in many of the De Sade tales, that her women have the right to talk and the ability to dominate. Indeed, Yaniv places her protagonists in the most sexist arena of pornography, but strips them of their sexuality, while narrating a story of a mixed-up femininity.
Born in 1983, a street artist and fashion designer. Graduate of the Shenkar design school.
In her work, Foma<3 explores the human body with all its deficiency and weirdness. She draws her influence from the street, from random and anonymous meetings with people from the margins of life, who fascinate her and remain engraved in her mind. Her work is a chaotic mixture, full of distortions and loose boundaries. For her, the human body is a map of the soul, like transparent skeletons of thoughts.
The artworks displayed in the exhibition are a series of sketches on canvas and on paper that sanctify a damaged femininity, a kind of grotesque women empowerment. Foma<3 utilizes the most identifiable image of feminist art, the vagina, and turns it into an orgiastic carnival, in which life and death are intertwined.
Her vaginas undergo a continuous metamorphosis, devoid of start and end points, signifying that they can give life and take it at the same time.
Born in 1975, a graduate of the Haifa University Art Faculty.
Orly Hummel's work is a requiem to a world of a lost childhood. They tell a morbid story of early maturation.
In this exhibition, Hummel depicts a series of installations called Wedding Night. She chooses to deal with this rite of passage between childhood and femininity with black humor – she smears areas of purity and cleansing with images of drowning, suicide, and death.
"Female genitals are everywhere", in the words of psychoanalyst Luce Irigaray, and that is the way Hummel represent her protagonists – as severed sexual objects, maybe victims or maybe Lolitas who are well aware of their strengths, and who broadcast an invitation to a game of pervert voyeurism.
Born in 1981, a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Art.
The animation video shown in this exhibition, In Aporia, has been shown recently in the Jerusalem Film Festival, after having been displayed in several festivals around the world. This video deals with the relationship between the skin and a system of threads and knots that aspire to break out.
The word Aporia relates to a state of getting to a philosophical dead end, when the discussion reach a deadlock, as it is paved with so many contradictions that there is no one explicit conclusion. Ronen's animation is also confusing and confused. There is no clear distinction between the inside and the outside, between childhood and maternity, between holiness and impure, between tenderness and violence, between the body's boundaries and its infiniteness, and in particular – between the impulse of creation and the impulse of death.
Born 1978, a graduate of HaMidrasha School of Art. She is currently studying towards her master's degree in gender studies.
Kapuano's incessant involvement with Japanese art and culture expresses a fascination with a society that worships childhood excessively, and girls in particular. This is a society in which the boundaries between the adult’s and the child's worlds are getting more and more blurred. Strong and violent seducing girls have become an object of admiration in literature, cartoons, comics, and even animated porn.
Kapuano sketches the main characteristic of a sadistic and murderous Lolita, who has gone out of control. In a chaotic and horrifying world that has lost its ability to shock and be shocked, Kapuano's cute Manga heroines serve as a reminder of the violence in every battle. Her work addresses the cliché of the angry feminist, and satirically suggests that the battle might end in bloodshed.