Requiem for the Silenced Body
Dror K. Levi
Pnina Reichman’s exhibition at the Noga Gallery examines the tense relations between words and images. Reichman paints as though she writes, and after seeing her exhibition, one may say that she writes as though she paints. Her painting does not originate in a clean and empty place: Reichman is associated with self conscious reflective artists; she keeps an active dialogue with the complicated problems the contemporary art discourse is concerned with.
In many ways this exhibition is a continuation of her previous exhibition, “Love Letters” (1998), that explored the discourse about the other. In the latter she adopts a melancholic voice seeking an answer to the question of passion and death, while her current works convey the disappearance of a body in its allegorical sense. Her decisive and authoritative voice communicates with the I and the You. This ironic dialogue emerges through a variation on two groups of sayings replicating the words “You” and “Don’t”. The conflict between language and things between the addiction to language and the need to go beyond what it represents is resolved in a denial, in a resolute “no”.
Reichman’s picturesque writing reveals a body imprisoned in layers of words: as we peel a layer another one appears. She creates an indefinite world of typographic images that embraces the body, shuts it inside and leaves blind spots as though gaps denied an erotic meaning, inaccessible, impenetrable. The typographical discourse of the painting becomes a symptomatic code. The words and the images, they are the overt symptoms, the visual marks that cover the empty spaces, the lost; on the other hand, they protect from the empty spaces constantly present in the human experience.
Reichman’s paintings are fascinating, enigmatic, almost hermetic, but although condensed they do not freeze. On the contrary, they invite the audience to an inward journey, to an interpretation that brings forward a sensual and erotic atmosphere that does not appeal directly to the senses, but emerges from the depths. The room becomes a murmuring space, music from the depths, distant voices, traces of sonnets. The typographical discourse of the silenced body only the physical aspect of which remains, ironically, turns into an image, an ideogram, an allegory.
Dr. Dror K. Levi
Lecturer on semiotics and culture criticism,
The department of history and theory
Bezalel, Art and Design Academy, Jerusalem