When Art Serves Its True Function As A Force For Spiritual Evolution And Is Not Just Decoration
Dive In… is Tal Eshed’s second solo show in New York City at Tanja Grunert. This show builds on the artist’s previous work which often includes as motifs water and light, presented in the medium of installation, sculpture, video and photography. For the first time the artist will perform, and invite the audience to join her performance, by wearing a featureless neutral colored body suit like the one she wears in the video in the installation.
The current show features two videos, a mobile sculpture hanging from the ceiling and a light sculpture. Each piece in the exhibition is like a jewel, not unlike the work Eshed has done in jewelry design. Not just ornamental but beautiful as an echo of the soul from the subconscious, video work from In Process, 2016, sparkle with that light that comes from a refinement of a vision over time. And Eshed has been working to refine these images that emerge from her subconscious, unfiltered.
When you “see” an exhibition by Israeli artist Tal Eshed, you are actually seeing with not only your eyes, but all of your senses. Her installations immerse you in an underwater dream world, not only in the imagery derived from the experience of her art but also by the density of emotion evoked in the works. This is the result of a heart-centered practice.
Without squeezing the water imagery too much, Eshed is not an artist who skims the surface. All of her work, much of it related to water, is very personal and deals with deep issues of the universe, the cycles of life and death, transformation and regeneration, alchemy and the forces at work internally and externally within and around us which mirror each other in the micro and macrocosms. Tal means ‘morning dew’ in Hebrew. And Eshed means ‘waterfall’.
Eshed’s world of water submerges the viewer in the realm of the unconscious. Her art practice is an extension of her practice of meditation in her daily life. Her work as a water dance practitioner informs her art and its execution. She understands her work, not as an ego-centered reflection of herself, but more of a means of bringing people together, and inviting them to explore themselves, with the help of her art. A unicorn with four horns, not one, stares back at us from video Sunrise Transformation, 2016. This mythical creature has come to symbolize a realm of not only fantasy but also of the dream world, in various histories like that of Greece and India. Coming also from the art of the Middle Ages, the beauty and mystery of the maiden with the unicorn is now transformed into the unicorn herself. No longer separate, they are now one.
Eshed’s art then becomes a tool of transformation, for unifying and for healing. And during these times of transformation taking place in the world now – wars, financial collapse, forced and voluntary migration, breaking down walls, climate change and scientific and technological discoveries, among many other events – this sort of shamanic healing, through art, is what the world needs to help raise people’s consciousness.
Light, like water, has the power to cleanse and light is also an element that one sees recurring like a thread, in Eshed’s work. A light sculpture in front of which the artist meditates, illuminates herself and the space around her, as well as casts light on those in the nearby vicinity. Like a benediction with water, this light makes the viewer aware of the redemption available to all through meditation and contemplation of the divine, in art, as a reflection of our selves and of nature.
This show can be seen as a culmination of Eshed’s practice over two decades of ongoing research and exploration of the spiritual in everyday life. She has expanded and evolved both personally and professionally during this time and it is obvious by the sheer force of the installation when viewed in its parts and as a whole.