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French novelist Marcel Proust inspires Dvir Gallery’s exhibit at the first ever Paris+ by Art Basel show…
Marcel Proust——a 20th-century writer known for his reflections on memory, including In Search of Lost Time (or Remembrances of Things Past) among other works-- sparked Dvir Gallery’s aim to curate an exhibit “…exploring memory as an ever-transforming emotion -- different each time depending on circumstances, context, cultural zeitgeist, …”
Here, Picture This Post (PTP) speaks with Chaya Hazan (CH), director of the Tel Aviv Dvir Gallery about their upcoming exhibit.
(PTP) Why did you choose the theme of memory for this exhibit?
(CH) The topic of memory, both in its personal and political sense, has always been one of the leading threads of the gallery’s identity, constructed by artists – such as Miroslaw Balka and his investigations of the border between a global and an individual memory, or Sigalit Landau’s objects which have been crystallized with salt. After being submerged in the Dead Sea, these objects appear frozen in time.
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of our gallery and the 100th anniversary of Marcel Proust. Thus, celebrating these events through a presentation around the theme of memory was very natural to us.
Our aim, as always with the gallery’s work, is to create propositions or moments that will touch the audience, and therefore leave a trace, a memory of some sort, in their life. If even one visitor is moved by our presentations, then our goal is met.
What are some specific references to Marcel Proust's work?
Dvir Gallery has a publishing house and used to have a magazine called Hameorer in which literature and contemporary art were intertwined. Rather than using specific literary references, the gallery has always looked at literature for inspiration and a way to visually write our curatorial story. And we are using Proust here the same way. It is through this framework that each piece has been chosen or created to convey a journey through memory.
Please give us examples of artists that contribute to this conversation about memory in this exhibit.
I will focus on a few artists from our prior selection:
Latifa Echakhch chooses easily recognizable objects that are invested with a domestic and/or social burden. She then silences these objects by destroying, deleting, or restoring them. This process deprives them of their utility and their function, and frees the memories attached to them. Through this process, Latifa can summon memories and free ghosts that emerge from these objects.
Ariel Schlesinger is fascinated by the connection between destruction and creation, especially through fire. His series Untitled (Burnt Carpet) draws its inspiration from an image he saw of the Pergamon Museum after it had been bombarded during the Second World War. Among the artifacts which caught fire were a set of rolled tapestries. When they were unrolled, they were marked by a Rorschach’s pattern of flame, which Ariel views as absolutely charged with history.
Simon Fujiwara’s work addresses the complexity and contradictions of identity in a post-internet, hyper-capitalist world. He often investigates themes of popular interest such as tourist attractions, famous icons, historic narratives, and mass media. Simon’s work can be seen as a complex response to the human effects of image fetishization, technology, and social media in his generation.
For an object to be included in Marianne Berenhaut’s practice, it must bear signs of life and use. For over sixty years, Marianne has been carefully selecting and incorporating objects like old furniture, garments, and toys in her sculptures. When experiencing one of her installations, one can feel an oppressive air of silence, sadness, or even doom. The objects she chooses express a forgotten life story, through which they are almost summoning an unknown human fate into our imagination. Her unique visual language addresses things like longing, absence, trauma, and of course, memory.
Why did you choose artists with diverse cultural backgrounds for this exhibit?
One of the fundamental beliefs of the gallery is facilitating connections between artists from different generations, cultural origins, and mediums. It is through this practice that Dvir Gallery has been able to not only bring international art to Israel, but also internationalize Israeli art. This has also brought about collaborations between artists from all different backgrounds.
What makes Dvir Gallery choose Paris as its third location?
After Tel Aviv and Brussels, our new space in Paris in the heart of the historic Marais neighborhood feels like a natural extension of the gallery's activities and its work of promoting artists. This choice reflects the close connections that we have with the French cultural world. We have always participated in the FIAC (International Contemporary Art Fair in Paris) and are very curious to discover Paris + by Art Basel.
About the Author: Mingyuan Dong
Ming has lived in China, the United States, and France. She speaks the languages of all three of these countries, as well as German. With these tongues, Ming enjoys traveling, visiting art museums around the world, and discussing all kinds of art with fellow art enthusiasts.
Ming grew up studying drawing in studios. Today, Ming spends most of her time making art, or studying the arts. She especially enjoys making works about linguistics, the natural environment, and living situations.