Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the opening of “Flower Fields” a solo exhibition by Alexandra Zuckerman. This is Zuckerman’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Rooted in the language of drawing, and yet informed by its numerous declinations – from painting to tapestry, from animation to textile –, the work of Alexandra Zuckerman sheds light on the thin line separating the field of Fine Art from that of applied arts; furthermore her appropriative use of techniques that belong to folklore, tradition and even amateurism, aims at contextualizing the histories of female artistic practices against a backdrop of unilaterality, which dominates the History of Art (with capital H and A).
Her latest body of work, which gives the title to this exhibition, is inspired by technical illustrations included in manuals and magazines for embroidery, cross – stitch and knitting. These images are specific and universal at the same time, they trigger the memory of places like Russia – where the artist was born and grew up before immigrating to Israel with her family – or Jaffa – where she currently lives.
Each drawing starts with a grid, which is drawn by hand, and consequently enriched by different fields of color, which are obtained by filling, again by hand, each square with crayons. Due to this technique, this series of drawings behaves differently according to their position in front of the viewer. Similarly to mosaics, they allow a double encounter –“bird’s–eye view” versus closeup.
In addition to that, the artist is interested here in the notion of repetition and how such repetition both entails pleasure and echoes the original craft – embroidery, cross–stitch and knitting –connected to the source of these images. Following such premises, some drawings are based on textile patterns and ornaments; there is always a tension between the motifs that appear in each drawing and its palette, which is based on tonal variations.
Continuing Zuckerman’s aforementioned interest in gently dismantling the notion of unilateral perception, this new series is emphasizing the possibility of working through abstraction and figuration simultaneously; while this tension can be encapsulated by the coexistence between an abstract layer – the pencil grid – and a figurative layer – the crayons blocks , between black and white – the pencil and the paper – and color – the crayons –, one cannot help but think how such tension can symbolize, once again, the artist’s desire to create a space that incorporates categories in order to erase them. Last but not least, the strict technical procedure behind these works could be seen, paradoxically, as a meditative act, confirming once again Zuckerman’s drawings as visual oxymorons.
Alexandra Zuckerman, Two mountains with cave, 2012, 119×84, pencil on paper
A series of new black drawings are exhibited in Alexandra Zuckerman’s new exhibition. The scenes constructed in them seem perhaps as a fairy tale, or perhaps threatening, whilst moving in the space between memory and wistfulness. What has the Moon Seen, asks Zuckerman, and spreads before us what may be seen, furthermore, she points out what may only be glanced at. Opaque doors, closed spaces, a keyhole and forest animals concealed in spaces or performing on a stage, all these are exhibited in the same joyless bacchanal.
Zuckerman draws from the world of Russian fairytales she heard as a child and intentionally interweaves it with influences from the world of Russian animation and illustration. The drawings themselves deal to a large extent with the appearances; they seem as toiling work of engraving, yet they are not. The flatness is their guiding principle. Each seemingly illusionistic space reminds us that we are in a display of sorts, that there is a stage before us, a play, an amusement meant for our eyes alone. Zuckerman reminds us that the secret, if indeed exists, lies elsewhere. The moon – that sees all – is in fact the one that is seen, subjected to the gaze. The moon, just as the eggs and the feminine-childlike body, is the empty space in the drawing that overcomes the fear of space that rediscovers the impossibility, magnificent in itself, to devise a fairy tale.
Alexandra Zuckerman was born in Moscow in 1981, an immigrated to Israel at the age of ten. She graduated from her studies in the Bezalel art academy in 2006, and received an award for excellence from the Department of Fine Arts, Bezalel. She was also awarded the Sharet scholarship from the America-Israel Culture Foundation. Zuckerman has exhibited a solo exhibition in the Noga Gallery project room, in Christian Nagel gallery in Berlin, in the “Open Space” sector in the Cologne art fair, where she represented the Christian Nagel Gallery, and in several group exhibitions in Israel and abroad.