Lihi Turjeman – Solo Exhibition: At the sight/site \ Ruslana Lichtzier (Julie M Gallery, 2011)
When Marie Antoinette constructed an elaborate hairdo with a fleet of ships atop her head, the upper doorways of the palace at Versailles and at the Paris Opera had to be raised higher. In a split second, incarnation of a fantasy: the internal body touches external space, transforms it and becomes a Part of it. “Tutu, tutu” said Monica Vitti in The Red Desert. The request for every-thing is a request for no-thing, the desire to simultaneously be one Zero.
Painted spirals swirling down, deeply, trailing ghosts, a painting that thinks itself through the rays of light and darkness, through electromagnetic rays.
The inescapable sensations of touch and pain are what remind us of our physical existence. It is impossible to escape or turn away the gaze. The closest to the body, that which penetrates the skin, has neither image nor contours. The most physical, therefore, the concrete, is also the invisible and formless. In front of it, what we call “objective reality,” totters and even stumbles, eliciting a kind of shadowing of one’s own actions as a response.
A sight/site may be concrete, able to be reflected in a glass, and simultaneously speculative, one whose existence is in doubt. The Hebrew word for reflecting glass, askpaklaria, from the Latin word for mirror, specularia, embodies this association. Its verb form is speculor, meaning to see, observe, examine, study and detect. Thus, there is an inseparable connection between vision and study. This link rectifies the common error of perceiving study as an initiated action of choice and thought, while, vision is perceived as a “natural” activity. On the contrary: when we see, it is because we choose to see it and therefore other things are not seen. It is impossible to take in an entire site/sight of everything that is seen. The eye, like a lens, is a natural research tool embedded in the body which the individual is forced to operate, with no choice but to choose each time what to see. This leads to an almost paranoiac situation, the knowledge of the unseen in the midst of the seen, hunting us always, while we are on the search for it. The Modernistic request for a degree zero subject, is the request to erase the invisible demons we carry around that have arisen since the Enlightenment. This is an attempt to demolish the constant barrier between the existence of a human being as a natural creature and as a civilized person. Vision, as a “forced” action, shows that the human being has been barred from “natural” action, that he has been acculturated to an anatomical level.
I have not succeeded in composing theory, only traces and notes. Nevertheless, I hope they are not on disconnected islands and seas, that there is expanse and span with ramifications, that my movement on your Earth has created mapping points and coordinates. These points perhaps do not indicate major crossroads or shortcuts, but in the end, they will generate a map.
Whether it is the pre-sunrise fog of the days of the smoggy heat days in Tel Aviv, harbingers of the ferry furnace soon to arise from the asphalt and return to it from the heavy layer of clouds through which only rays of a sickly sun can penetrate, or whether it is the fog of sunset at the edge of the city, emanating all of the filth, smoke and soot to the edge, where the sea’s horizon used to be. But the dry land is not distinguished from the heavens in a reverse Creation process, and (in a moment) there will be water in the waters and darkness hovering on the face of the deep. Either way, I see inwards, see outwards. You are bracing yourself for the impending catastrophe. The painterly spaces are abandoned. In one of them is a single, truncated body, an evil, dismembered and tortured body. In its penury and penalty it is being structured with ribs for railing and staircases, moving as it strive to form itself into a circle and you as a site.
The vertical movement of the paintings presents a surface that has become cross-sections of depth and height. It seems that this movement refuses to submit to the force of gravity, resulting in a horizontal look – the landscape that is seen from a height of 1.66m is not enough. The viewer must depart and crash, glide down and up, the eyes become a camera in a 180° tilt with the body is a fulcrum.
The city of sun and sea has sunken into the asphalt, seeking its redemption in the sewers, where there is a chance that the body and the corpse will unite. The body will devour and the soul will depart.
Walls of space are hung on the walls of space, blocking the course of the gaze, mocking perspective. Marks with masking tape form a strip drawn out in a future crime scene. Here the stumbling will take place towards what is before words. The negative of impasto: A painting that refuses to eat, to be thickened and coated. There is only a spirit, meaning a ghost. Therefore, it is not bizarre to claim that the action here is self-hunting. One of the tasks of the viewer at the current exhibition is to find the correct distance from the paintings. If we pass between them on a straight line, they will attack us; invade the space of our gaze. Some will recede and gather themselves up somewhere far back on the wall. This is why if we seek to moderate the “too-muchness” to a bearable distance, we are forced to jump (cuts) in the space. The empowered body of the viewer compensates for the absence-body in the paintings. But the body must gain fitness, to fit with body and sight in front of the works.