A Woman Who Stopped
In the end, it is about movement. Like the movement that leaves the text open-ended, as if to signify the transcendence of time, the distortion inherent in the linear sequence. The annals of time begin with a different ending, and what takes place in us moves in opposite directions, stopping at the moment of being christened as an image. And here, we have a woman who stopped, and more than once. She confers her consonants on whoever is interested, in order to say something about the strength needed to be passive. This is her natural language, her diction, if you like. Her ideological movement is the movement of consonants, and in order to take the helm with her lips she must rub against edges, embody passive and active states, action and passion, man and woman.
For her past is strewn with beds, riddled with previously registered prostrations. “She is lying down, he stands up”, writes Hélène Cixous. “She arises – end of the dream – what follows is sociocultural: he makes her lots of babies, she spends her youth in labor; from bed to bed…”[i] What shall we do with this woman who insists on stopping in motion? The streams of water moisten her organs, whispering: “You have long been dispossessed of yourself,” but a recalcitrant habit makes her stretch up her legs, turning the crucifixion gesture on its head.
Her body rests on the cool floor with her arms spread out, like in an emergency instruction manual she once saw, warning against being trapped in quicksand. The head is bent back, the arms float, and only the legs are already sunk deep in the downsucking force. Surrender as a first, vital resort.
Now she pulls out her legs from the grip of the everyday and uses them to outline, almost unawares, a new vertical order. Her body delineates two contradictory paths – a perpendicular, structuring, organizing, hierarchical dimension, tolerating no interruption and containing all she knows, and a horizontal, expanding, all-encompassing dimension that contains her secret. Her confidants know the rebellion embodied in a rising which is not an erection, but an ever continuous, changing, diffusive flow.
How wicked is the joy that permeates her, her unseen gaze trained on her toes, become a horizon. She can almost speak, get reacquainted with the efficiency workers that gulp up the spaces of her life, generate the role reversal, the hovering that will be their lot. She teaches them to hold what is stronger than her, like a wave she has learned to tame, inhaling air into her lungs as if she were newly born.
In the end, it is about movement.
[i] Hélène Cixous and Catherine Clément, The Newly Born Woman. Trans. Betsy Wing. University of Minnesota Press, 1986, p. 66.
In her new exhibition, Sea of Galilee, Orly Maiberg returns to the sea. But the sea is not the same sea. It is not the expressionist, devouring sea, nor the gentle twilight sea of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, so familiar to us from her earlier exhibitions. This is the Sea of Galilee with its religious, cultural and national symbolism as well as a mecca for sports, holidays, fun.
What begins as the popular sporting event of swimming across as a means of instilling in us a feeling of common national goals –- so precisely described by the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbaum –- suddenly changes. It turns into defeat, persecution, escape, exile, into a search for a safe haven
The swimmers who begin their trek as sport become nothing but nameless survivors in its midst. They are crowded on rafts, elbowing one another on makeshift boats, trying to escape to an unknown future. Their identity – if they have one – is given to them in the form of their number in the competition, whose rules have changed and now it is nothing but a trap. The shores of the Sea of Galilee are not the shore that is visible on the horizon, nor the shore that is left behind, but a parallel shore – undesired one.
We leave them thus, abandoned to their fate, men and women with their roots in water, a mass, moving from here to there, from there to here.
– Ilana Bernstein
B-side is a term borrowed from the 1950s’ world of music. The A-side was the side with the hit, the music that would be heard on the radio. The B-side was the underside, but with music close to the heart of the performer.
Besides painting playing music to myself
In the exhibition B-side, there are about forty portraits of musicians drawn from their photos on the record sleeves. The format of the paintings is square and uniform – 30 by 30 cm. (2 cm. less than the vinyl sleeve). The intimacy of listening to music pervades the painting. The physical contact with the surface of the painting reminds us of how we approach the sleeve of a record: holding it close up, examining the contours of the portrait as if looking at our own face in the mirror, turning it over – anyone who has ever played records is familiar with the process.
This is the way in which we achieve intimacy with something that is popular, anonymous and not ours alone. The embodiment of the personal and private within the general. After all, the image on the sleeve is reproduced again and again and again in millions of copies and subjected to the gaze of millions of pairs of eyes. This particular image is at one and the same time a personal memory that enfolds within itself something almost totally my own and is, at the same time, the product of an endless production line. For a moment I disturb this impossible but inescapable oneness and, almost literally, demand my part.
The collection of portraits in this exhibition are my gang of friends, PJ Harvey, Patty Smith, Jeff Buckley, Beck, Nancy Sinatra, Nick Drake, Marianne Faithful, Johnny Nash, Tim Buckley, Cat Power Stephen Stills and many others. I play Tim Hardin and paint his portrait not only according to the photograph but also in response to the music, the song, the text. The portrait of P. J. contains the sound loop in the studio, the sound of the tape as I drive, the memories attached to the song. The portrait on the canvas – immersed in my listening experiences – is not always identifiable.
Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” performed by Orly Silberschatz and Avi Baleli Alongside the portraits, as part of the work of the exhibition, I invited Orly Silberschatz and Avi Baleli to video tape a version of Sonny and Cher’s familiar and beloved song. Originally it was an A-side. Compared to the youthfulness, innocence and promise of the original, the version of Silberschatz and Baleli is full of pain. It is the same text invested with another experience, mature, disappointing, and scarred. It promises nothing to anyone, except perhaps loneliness. That is a B-side version.
In her current series of works, Orly Maiberg brings together the subjects of her paintings of the last ten years. Her paintings examine the boundaries between truth and illusion, portraits and landscapes, the internal and external, dreams and reality, the signifier and the signified.
For Maiberg, longings are processed into something lost in Tel-Aviv, lost in time. The process travels and takes place in the gap between photography and painting. The landscape and the figures come from the family photo-album, or are taken in the present by Maiberg herself. The paintings react to life in a direct and personal manner. Thematically, Maiberg dialogues with one of the fascinating directions in contemporary discourse: preoccupation with images of reality, in the connection between photography and painting, in the space between life and art, where everyday activity turns into artistic acts.
Time is frozen in photography and painting, very present yet longs for something different, different days. The aim of painting as raw material is to put together “facts,” “memories,” and “moments;” to confront situations and places and bring them to the surface, to consciousness. This is where past and present dissolve into one another: Maiberg with her father on the beach; Maiberg’s children on the beach; Tel-Aviv of the past; Tel-Aviv of the present. If in earlier works her figures were anonymous, without identity, then in the current series of works they receive a concrete characterization, personal and familial.
Orly Maiberg has developed in the last decade a unique and independent outlook on nature and urban nature. Her outlook is distinct, uncompromising. Maiberg’s sea landscapes are one of the most impressive achievements of the young Israeli painting. She is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, New York. Her works have been shown in museums and galleries in Israel, the US and Europe.
In the current series of works, Maiberg brings together the objects of her paintings of the last ten years. Her paintings examine the boundaries between truth and illusion, portraits and landscapes, the internal and external, dreams and reality, the signifier and the signified.
For Maiberg, longings are processed into something lost in Tel-Aviv, lost in time. The process travels and takes place in the gap between photography and painting. The landscape and the figures come from the family photo-album, or are taken in the present by Maiberg herself. This is realist painting reacting to life in a direct and personal manner. Thematically, Maiberg corresponds with one of the fascinating directions in contemporary discourse preoccupied with images of reality: the connection between photography and painting, in the space between life and art where everyday activity turns into an act of art.
Time is frozen in photography and painting, very present yet longs for something different, different days. The aim of painting as raw material is to put together “facts,” “memories,” and “moments;” to confront situations and places and bring them to the surface, to consciousness. This is where past and present dissolve into one another: Orly Maiberg with her father on the beach; Maiberg’s children on the beach; Tel-Aviv of the past; Tel-Aviv of the present. If in earlier works her figures were anonymous, without identity, then in the current series of works the figures receive a concrete characterization, personal and familial.
Orly Maiberg has developed in the last decade a unique and independent outlook on nature and urban nature. This outlook is distinct, uncompromising. Her estuarine landscapes are one of the most impressive achievements of the young painting in Israel. She is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, New York. Her works have been presented in museums, galleries and art-fairs in Israel, the US and Europe.
A bedroom as a representative of the most intimate part of “a home”.
A good browse at one’s home is a legitimate act, but looking into one’s bedroom will consider peeping.
Peeing involves an act of a stolen glance, as of invading private territory, an intimate territory with oneself and with the other.
Territory in which one finds oneself between sleep and awakens, between conscious and unconscious, dearmworld and realty.
In this series of bedroom paintings, exposure and disguise play almost an equal role. As light falls, it reveals not necessarily our glamour’s moments but captures those who are banal, taken out of the erotic context.As if were scenes out of a movie they might end on the editor’s floor.
The relationship of the viewer – painter is ambivalent. At times the viewer like the painter immersed in the scene neglected of the peeping standpoint. It’s a relationship of a close intimacy. At other times, it can be of distance and alienation. We are always reminded of this dual relationship of temptation and rejection.