A DOLL’S HOUSE
IRINA BIRGER - KAREN RUSSO – RUTI NEMET – ZOYA CHERKASSKY
A Doll's House is the fourth exhibition in the framework of the Joint project for young art at the Israel Museum. The four women artists taking part in this exhibition: Irina Birger, Karen Russo, Ruti Nemet and Zoya Cherkassky, are showing three installations in the exhibition. On the surface, their installation works differ one from the other both in character and in creative process, yet the common element is almost immediately apparent. Each work is made up of images taken from different 'artistic' fields: painting, sculpture or photography as well as images drawn from media sources such as voices taped from the television and internet, animation and especially cinematic images.
These many sources do not only serve to concretize the interdisciplinary characteristic of contemporary culture, each one in its own way also raises and interprets images connected to the more hidden worlds of mythology, folktales, fairy stories and the research of the sub-conscience. In Karen Russo's installation, The Mute, for example, the descent into a complex, hidden world is immediate and concrete. The work opens with a staircase leading down into a mine, a dark passage that receives the viewer in a physical manner and 'initiates' him into the other aspects of the installation. Russo sees her installation space as a cave in the depths of the earth, representing hell, madness, the kingdom of darkness and irrationality. The space contains scientific data, archaeological finds and figures and objects from folktales, horror stories and movies.
Part of a Russian animated film, The Snow Queen, is at the center of Irina Birger's installation, also entitled The Snow Queen, - a nostalgic passage into the world of folk tales as seen through the cinematic experience of childhood. The scene shown here can be read as an index to the entire story, which depicts the boy Kay's exit from the world into the Ice Kingdom and the palace of the Snow Queen, who represents all that is irrational and lacking in emotion. Kay is eventually redeemed from his imprisonment and returned to the world and the realm of reality with the help of his love, Gerda. Birgir brings this tale of dark magic to life by screening her images on, and through, a screen of glass stalactites.
Through doll-like figures of themselves and their friends, Ruti Nemet and Zoya Cherkassky replicate the intimate world of their circle. In their installation entitled Study-cases, they are recreated as frozen bodies, dense and tactile, healthily "dead", without having died or been killed. Ruti and Zoya use the dolls as a game that becomes an alternative world, created by the precise copying of their existing one. The extended time taken to create the dolls and their environments sharpens their reality and dialectic existence, until there is no contradiction between the "real" and the alternative, illusory time and place. Dream markers and realms of the imagination are only hinted at within the doll's bodies. The figures' faces are slightly contorted, bordering on the edge of a grotesque countenance, which hints at the possibilities of their belonging to a species of harmful figures.
The immediacy and concreteness of these installations, on the one hand, and their complexity as stories which also hint at a secret world, on the other, gives these works by Ruti Nemet and Zoya Cherkassky, Karen Russo, and Irina Birger an allegorical touch, a dimension of a fable whose meaning has vanished.
The exhibition was curated by Sarit Shapira.
Closing: January 2001