Debut exhibition of HaMekarer Underground Gallery
In 2017 I was invited to collaborate with Israeli artist Naomi Slaney on an exhibition for the opening of the HaMekarer Underground Gallery. Slaney’s remarkable works are focused, in part, on moments of great fragility, seemingly seconds away from breakage. Slaney is also an expert mariner and had previously discussed through her works the nature of marine migration and the mysterious, eerie phenomena of Cetacean Stranding.
As the Syrian refugee crisis escalated, many Syrians attempted to escape the country by sea. Images of refugees in rubber boats landing on foreign shores, along with those of the obliteration of Syrian cities filled the space of mainstream media and fueled a new project – Destruction Lullaby. Together, we developed a shared language in the understanding of displacement, catastrophe, silence, and shadow.
Slaney recreated a world of middle eastern cities in ruins by cutting bombarded urban landscapes out of two-dimensional white paper and projecting a moving strobe through it. I designed the exhibition space to create pathways of wandering through accumulating layers of shadows and memory. By walking further into the exhibition space, visitors observed the destroyed urban volumes which exist now only as a flat after-image. Their bodies projected new dark figures onto the scenery, as they explored the desolate shadow-land.
Defining shadow as a physical material, out of which an entire paper city can be carved.