Curated by Mitra Khorasheh
January 11 – February 22, 2014
Opening Reception: Sunday, January 11, 6 – 8 p.m.
Tal Eshed, Liquid Time (video still), 2014
Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Gallery is pleased to announce Fragile, a solo exhibition by Tal Eshed. For this ambitious and complex presentation, Eshed has created a complimentary series of video works and video integrated sculptural objects, which explore the duality between the physical and spiritual realms. The selection of works considers notions of existence, perception, separation and unity, death and regeneration— themes that pervade much of her work—raising philosophical and existential questions. Navigating the concept of rebirth through an esoteric lens, Eshed brings forth aspects of the unknown, the bewildering, the invisible. Fragile will be on view from January 11 through February 22, 2015.
In this transient blink of an eye we call life, the fleeting moment of earthly existence, we choose to pursue the ephemeral rather than the eternal, the physical rather than the mental, selfish desire rather than compassion. And, while we do not know where we come from and we do not know to where we go, we search and search for answers to this, roaming through life like a thirsty caravan through the desert. Thousands of years of knowledge, history, science, art or any other creation of this realm, are there to provide us with moments to realize the fragility of life, and to clearly see a glimpse of the one true discovery we have attained: One true fact is inherent in all, that a search for gold, riches and legacy pales in comparison to the love that binds us all.
The inspiration for this new body of work comes from Eshed’s near fatal experience, the result a self-reflective body of work echoing her transformation and renewal—a very personal renaissance. Intertwining myth with reality, faith with fable, Eshed’s video works attempt to build a fantasy world by piecing together bits of disturbing truths. While some are deliberately disturbing, others are phantasmal, surreal, and abstract with broken narrative. Though Eshed has resisted an explicitly stylistic signature, certain reoccurring themes weave throughout her oeuvre, most notably, the motif of water, the image of the body, and the varying presence or anonymity of the artist traceable in physical form.
“I came back and was sucked back in, attracted like a magnet to the earth, I parachuted from infinite heights at the speed of time, hurtling through space. I saw colors, forms, a figure. A body lying on the floor in a pool of blood. The face was covered in blood, with the head resting on the right side, and the neck twisted back while the entire body was facing forward. The knee at a sharp angle to the side. Who was this? What was this picture? There was a bitter taste, the color red, alternating with flashes of white. Then again a strange sensation, reassembling, parts, cells moving and flowing, cold … Who am I and how did I get here on the floor? … ”
Fragile will engage visitors in a full body experience, through utilizing diverse visual and sensory elements in an attempt to create an immersive space in which the haptic, tactic, visual, and auditory senses collide. The exhibition will present 9 recent video works, and several works in which the artist integrates her video work into sculptural and light objects. Dividing the space with virtual partitions, the installation will take the viewer on a journey through different levels of consciousness, both metaphorically and psychologically. Eshed invites the audience into her enchanted space, a space she refers to as “a space between life and death—to explore the invisible world of the wonders of the human body, the world of the spirits and mysticism, and the very wonders of Creation itself.”
“Suddenly, all ceased! Everything stopped! DISTURBED, there is a light, bright, strong light, blinding light, quiet! Absolute silence, something understandable, new, unclear, hovering, dense, but suddenly airy and bodiless, unconscious, disconnected, without context, without any chance of understanding the significance of the light or the silence dominating it all. It was as if it was shattering every part of my body as it spread out, spreading and disseminating all of the cells into infinite invisible particles rapidly transforming themselves into weightlessness, every single familiar part belonging to, found in and existing in the physical, emotional, or spiritual body.
While Eshed’s practice is a meditative method and a form of internal processing and transformation, the viewer’s subjectivity is crucial: positioned as an active reader or decoder of image and signs, positioned to be critical, and most significantly; having an ephemeral experience within the installation. While many media environments can overwhelm and inundate our senses with input as they endlessly compete for our attention, Fragile creates a serene contemplative atmosphere, which allows us to make ‘sense’ of our lived experiences and transformative moments.
“There was a void – a nothingness, while part of me was, nevertheless, viewing from the side, observing, feeling another type of unfamiliar, disconnected, non-belonging space/time. Within a moment there was calm and a unique expectation, without fear, without thoughts or questions, but only being, the present, light, warmth, love. What is the source of this light? This was an opportunity for change. A bubble of awakening! The only eternal law which unifies everything – the beginning and end of all time: what was, what is, and what will be…”
Tal Eshed was born in 1976 in Tel Aviv, Israel, and currently lives and works between Tel Aviv and New York. A multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes photography, video, sound, installations, and mixed media sculptural and light objects, Eshed received her BFA in photography and video from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem (2001), and her MA in Expressive Art Therapy at the Lesley University (2007). Since 1997, her work has appeared in numerous group exhibitions internationally, and has been the subject of solo exhibitions at a number of major institutions in Israel. This is Eshed’s first solo exhibition in New York.