Over My Dead Body
Multidisciplinary collaboration with the artist Hadar Mitz | 2016
Solo exhibition: Hanina Gallery.
The project was developed in Art & Architecture Arad residency (Israel) and in PAF (France).
Artist-talk at Hayarkon 19 Gallery. Videos exhibited in group exhibitions at Cuckoo’s Nest Gallery, Binyamin Gallery and Mutacana 100 art center in Santiago (Chile).
In search of silence and nothigness, Hadar Mitz and Sayon escaped to the forest and the desert, where the forces of life and death are present and perform in all their glory. They searched for the transcendent in nature and in themselves. They experimented with different states of matter, tried to touch the transitions of life and death, to be a body and a cadaver. They practiced being alive-dead, being human-alive-plant-still. They followed existing practices and methods, as well as inventing new ones, in dance, ceremony, and poetry. These experiences led them to a post-humanist state of mind in which humanity is not necessarily important or superior to other states of being.
Nature, with its infinity, existence, and nothingness, again and again reminded them of their body's limitation and finitude. They created little rituals for themselves, imitations of death, doomed to failure fake funerals. The artists are the dead, they are the ones who mourn, they are the ones who document. They sacrificed themselves to the trees and the earth in order to get closer and absorb from the tremendous creative power of nature. The temporal body aligned itself with nature and its nature.
In an era where screens are the main means of our communication, the presence of the human body and the establishment of unmediated meetings are activist actions. This idea is reflected both in the works themselves and in the way they were exhibit. The artists offered the visitors of the exhibition to be a body in front of body, specifically in the museum space, where we usually turn our backs to each other and to the shared space. They offered the audience another set of options for dealing with the gallery space, not just a spectator experience but a more holistic one - sitting together, talking, observing, being. They placed tables close to the ground and cushions beside them, where you can sit with a friend or with a stranger or with a group or alone. To direct the audience to a certain type of meeting, similar to the type of meeting they had between them – Hadar and Savyon placed cards on the tables with poetry they wrote together, poetry that captures a question, a sensation, a feeling they experienced together. Visitors of the exhibition had different interpretations of how to use of the cards - sometimes they asked the cards a question, sometimes they drew a lucky card, sometimes they read to each other, sometimes they used the card as a topic of conversation. The words on the cards performed themselves, became performers. The cards gained mystical power. The meeting with the audience seemed to breathe life into them. Both the physical practice (in the exhibited works) and the cards became transformative tools. It seems that the gallery space was growing wider, not only because of the forest and the desert that were shown in it, but because the space contained an event. On the one hand, the gallery functioned as a meeting and dining place, like a cafe, and on the other hand, as a place for introspection and gathering, similar to a monastery or temple. Either way, the gallery became a focal point for pilgrimage. Like the space, the audience was also fully present - they read the cards, observed the exhibition and themselves, lingered, meditated, met, rested. Time slowed down and stretched, examining its one-way movement towards death, while the works seem to whisper from the walls "Memento mori, remember the day of your death". The space was charged with urgency and existence. "Over my dead body" created direct, intimate encounters, perhaps even threatening, surprising or embarrassing, in search of humanity in its rawness.