The Desert of the Real - Rami Ater, Izik Lambez
The exhibition “The Desert of the Real” has been partly determined by the gallery space. The encounter between the art works and the space helps to emphasize the exhibition’s content, focusing on the concept: Both artists deal with the human figure in a similar manner. Their figures are treated in a schematic and anonymous way, representing man in general and not a specific individual.
Rami Ater’s work progresses from formal abstract to abstraction of the figure. His body of works include iron made large abstract sculpture and smaller works depicting anonymous human figures in motion.
Itzik Labez’s work consists mostly of semi-large canvases, painted in acrylic, depicting scenes of the sea, beaches and crowds bathing. Although the sea is “nature” in its usual sense, in the urban context of this exhibition the sea represents a vast space, emphasizing the smallness of the figures. The contrast between these sea spaces and the small faraway figures bring to mind works of art from the Romantic era: specifically Friedrich’s “The Monk by the Sea”. evoking issues dealing with the sublime and the smallness of the human being confronting the immensity of the universe.
Although paintings of sea scenes usually express positive feelings, such as holidays and entertainment, one cannot refrain from the associations that they stubbornly stir in our minds due to the proportions and contrasts of anonymous figures against the background. Rami Ater”s small sculpted figures, when set against the huge space of the gallery bring to mind the same reference.
The relation between the works and the space is definitely site specific in essence. The gallery space with its high walls and huge windows looking out into the busy, bustling and vibrant street, allows the exterior to crash into the interior, creating a visual cacophony intervening with the exhibition, capturing it and becoming part of the general concept.
In contrast with Friedrich’s Romanticism, our scene has nothing romantic about it. In spite of the fact that both deal with the smallness of human beings confronted with the vastness, the meaning of “sublime” in our exhibition does not refer to nature or God , but bears a more modern reference, an urbanic, technological one, in which the same sense of feeling lost exists. A feeling of anxiety and even horror, a “sublime” evoking the terror of 9/11, a feeling of fear, solitude and alienation, like that which one can feel in big, hugely crowded city.
Jennifer Bloch October 2019