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F L O A T I N G  W A L L S
Dana Levy, Gal Cohen, Lee Tal, Michal Geva, Naomi Safran-Hon, Noa Charuvi, Zac Hacmon

The Laurie M. Tisch Gallery

Floating Walls presents a multidisciplinary survey of works made by seven Israeli artists based in New York. The exhibition incorporates site-specific installation, video, painting, and sculpture. By using a variety of materials across media, the artists explore and reimagine the walls that surround them as both material and metaphor. 

As Israelis living in New York, the artists in this exhibition are familiar with migration and reconstituting one’s definition of identity and relationship to home. Additionally, the works on view allow us to reflect on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our sense of place, as we entered periods of lockdown in our domestic environment, and renegotiated our position regarding public and private spaces.  

In her two-channel video work, Dana Levy exposes the tension between architecture and nature. Gal Cohen’s paintings offer alternative narratives to demolished historical houses from her hometown, Hadera. Lee Tal’s site-specific installation brings awareness to the surroundings of the viewer. Michal Geva’s painting breaks the logic of compositional form and inserts conflicts into depicted architecture. Naomi Safran-Hon’s mixed-media works investigate the archaeology of dilapidated walls, evoking concepts of home, memory, and displacement. Noa Charuvi reimagines construction sites and piles of rubble as places of beauty. Zac Hacmon’s sculptures deal with the relationship between architecture and the human body. 

According to the French philosopher and poet Gaston Bachelard, the most important function of the house is to allow us to dream: “the house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.” Floating Walls invites viewers to explore new dimensions of the structures that surround us and shelter our experiences.

Performing Dinner: A Tribute to Leah

by Maya Yadid

Performing Dinner: A Tribute to Leah is a shared art experience by Maya Yadid, a multidisciplinary artist. It is an intimate social gathering orchestrated around a meal in commemoration of Yadid’s beloved late grandma, Leah, who passed away last October. 

The participation in this event and people’s interactions are used as primary materials that construct the artwork. This idea of constructed social experience as art-making goes back to the ’90s when it was recognized by the French curator Nicolas Bourriaud as a tendency in art which he named Relational Aesthetics. In Performing Dinner: A Tribute to Leah, the private act of sharing a meal with friends in the intimacy of a domestic space becomes an impactful and memorable experience - performed to conjure Leah’s personality and narratives, and at the same time, evoke the warm feelings the Grandmother-Granddaughter close relationship.

Leah was born in Jerusalem to a Jewish family who immigrated from Urfa, located in south-east Turkey, on the border with Syria. She was brought up in a traditional Jewish Urfa home, Raised into a longstanding tradition of hospitality which is common in Middle-Eastern cultures. Leah used to wear white clothes made of silk, linen, or cotton. She had dyed blond hair and peeled red nail polish, from her labor around the kitchen. She loved partying and hosting, and she did so until the very last minute. The weekend before her passing, at the age of 92, she hosted 25 people in her house in Jerusalem who were all craving for her outstanding cooking.

The meal served in Performing Dinner: A Tribute to Leah consists of the recreation of dishes originally served by Lea to her guests. These dishes withhold a personal memory while unfolding the forgotten story of the lost Jewish community of Urfa.  Food and hospitality link Leah and Yadid, an Israeli immigrant in New York herself,  to their historical cultural origins. Playing a significant role in forming their identities.

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