The works in the exhibition are made of acrylic on plastic. The acrylic was not applied directly to the surface. Each section was painted separately on a large nylon sheet, and after drying, it was peeled from the nylon and attached to the plastic. Thus, each painting consists of a combination of hundreds of dried acrylic strokes. It is a method of painting with “dry” acrylic.
Each stem and each leaf previously existed as a separate object. Each part had a separate existence, a thing in itself, and only then was it added to the whole, assimilated into the painting. Even after joining the painting, each part maintains a thin contour around it, a frozen memory of its former independence. Each painting in the exhibition presents a world made up of countless “individual details.”
The stem progresses in a straight line toward the light, to the moment of realization. In stems, life is pushed through a narrow aperture, thrusting forward in a straight line, aspiring to the sun, determined to open up to the world.
Yonatan Zofy’s flowers open and close day in day out. When the sun shines, they glimmer, turn golden, aspiring upward, towards the light. When the moon rises they bow their heads and hide in the dark, occasionally emerging with a faint twinkle.
The crown daisies and groundsels bloomed at the right times of the year around Zofy’s studio in Ramat Gan, resembling yellow suns: the former in mid-spring, and the latter in early winter. They all withered eventually. Zofy waited patiently for them to bloom or dry out, so as to paint and peel them. Inside the narrow studio, the summer sun gradually turned yellow on the plastic, becoming multiple rugs of living or dead crown daisies; while the fog was absorbed in the plastic as grayish azure in which groundsels appear and disappear. Only after an annual cycle in the flowers’ life passed, and a moment after they sprouted again, was his work completed.
In his previous works, Zofy’s point of departure was the technique, which gradually crystallized into an image obeying a predetermined regularity: an intense graphite drawing created waves on paper, transforming it into a compressed pillow; an act of filling squares in shades of gray ultimately materialized into the shape of a fish. In the current works, Zofy performs a reverse move: now, the point of departure is an image. The flowers blooming around his studio are the basis for his technique. The three-dimensional crown daisies and groundsels turn two-dimensional via applications of acrylic paints; they are subsequently peeled off the nylon and return to their three-dimensional state, floating and hovering on the surface, as if they were about to develop roots in the air and climb up.
From a distance, Zofy’s crown daisies and groundsels are almost invisible. They form two uniform fields, each single-colored and one-dimensional: gold and silver, summer and winter, sun and moon. Approaching the work, the stems and petals that Zofy gently peeled from the nylon sheets are revealed in their three dimensions, and the eyes suddenly open.
Text by Noga Litman
Translated by Daria Kassovsky
Chanan de Lange | So It goes | 23.6.22-30.7.22
“And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
In his recent series of works, Chanan de Lange focuses on sand as a material and a signifier – of mankind, of a place, of the land. First, de Lange lays down cotton canvases painted with acrylics on his studio floor, “pouring” yellow carpenter’s glue on the canvas to create the work’s formal foundation. He then sprinkles sand on the glue, using a sieve: burnt black industrial sand, red sand gathered near Mitzpe Ramon and quarry sand. While the glue is still in its liquid state, he picks up the canvas and tilts it, allowing gravity to guide the movement of the sand in a controlled manner.
The grains of sand move and shift along the glue according to de Lange’s hand movements. The action stops once the desired shape “takes hold” on the canvas. After the glue has completely dried, loose sand is removed with a hard brush, and the sand grains fixed in the glue remain and determine the final work. Like in action paintings, the body takes part in the artmaking process. In de Lange’s practice in general, and in this exhibition in particular, there is always significance to the random, to uncertainty, both in the creative act and as part of the statement.
The works featured in this exhibition engage with forced migration as a result of wars, persecutions and pandemics, most of which are the outcome of human actions. The grains of sand that de Lange scatters are at the mercy of external forces that impact their migration. They are pushed out of their place, and settle on the glue, with no control over their fate until the work is completely dry. So it goes.
The exhibition takes its name from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Throughout the book, the depictions of cruelty and death almost always end with the phrase “so it goes,” as a critical commentary on the ease with which human injustices are tolerated, and the indifference in the face of tragedies.
Prof. Chanan de Lange is a B.des Graduated with honors of the Department of Industrial Design at Bezalel. Active as a designer since 1985. Lecturer at Bezalel since 1988. Previously served as head of the bachelor’s department in industrial design at Bezalel and head of the master’s program in industrial design at Bezalel.
Chanan de Lange has presented a variety of solo exhibitions in Israel and abroad, including at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (1994, 2011); Haifa Museum of Art (2000, 2005); Novalis Fine Arts Gallery, Torino, Italy (2008); Living Design Center Ozone, Tokyo, Japan (2002) and more. Participated In many group exhibitions, including at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Haifa Museum; Design Museum, Holon; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York; The University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv; Wilfried Museum and more. His works are included in the collections of the Tel Aviv Museum, the Israel Museum, the Design Museum in Holon, the Haifa Museum and other public and private collections.
With thanks to: Yoram Aschheim, Eyal Shushan, Boaz and Alon, Noga Litman. With a special Thanks to Tal de Lange.
Translated by Maya Shimony