Feel at home but don’t forget it’s my home / a solo exhibition at Gabirol gallery, Tel Aviv, November through December 2016 / curator: Sharon Toval

Curator Sharon Toval: 

"This exhibition shows a heterotopic, partly autobiographical partly made-up archive, constructed of three room size site-specific installations and one performance space.  Those artworks embody in their perception places of being, mixing truth and false, reality and imagination, personal and public, interior and exterior. Continuing his research on theatrical happenings and personal conflicts of an artist versus collective ethical norms, this exhibition shows an ambivalent attitude towards making peace with those themes. Is it a personal archive? Where does it become collective? Can the blurring position between interior and exterior take an objective stand? The gallery is placed in an old telecommunication building, still consisting of all its original equipment, which was implemented naturally into the installations.

The first space is composed of an existing large-scale communication board, a wall-size graffiti saying “Fireberg the whore”, a line inspired by a graffiti from Allon’s parent's backyard, a trash bin full of personal archival paperwork and Moroccan music coming out of it. The bin is placed on a big Moroccan carpet. The elements are inspired by Allon’s recent residency in Morocco. The next room, “letting the dirty laundry hang outside” shows clotheslines with dozens of papers “drying” on them. The papers are a mixture of medical documents, wrestling images, letters, family photos wall graffiti and more – that provide a feeling of a crafted biography and humoristic gender criticism. The third room, “letter to his father”, shows an older work from 2013 in a new way, consisting a sitting setting that enables the spectator to read the highly personal letter to Allon’s father, as well as homoerotic wall paintings and a funny and aggressive short sound work. The last room, pink light salon, allows the visitors to watch a full soccer game from Morocco, with Allon sitting there occasionally wearing Berber clothes and watching the game silently.

"Eggs", sound work from "Letter to his father" room                                                                                   The song that comes out of the trash bin: Gasba Cheikh Ahmed / Liyou Berkane

Day to day and banal situations are actually a very well in depth crafted work of art. They are an output of three “holy” elements, to quote Allon:

  • Father’s home, red, minimal, green. Music, food, small space inhabited by many people, no choices, always on the run, shoes, clothes, carpets, 10 people

  • Mother’s home, brown, monochrome, yellow. Functional, quiet, nature, birds, humming of electronic devices, modest, books, order is kept, perfect temperature inside, dusty

  • Temple for three kings. All of them are old. Sick. Bygones. You grow up and become them. Masculine yet old. trying to hide their weaknesses by being pathetically strong.

These quotes could have been a script for a Kafka play, but actually, they show the complex thinking that was translated into the exhibition spaces. Annihilation between mother and father, between inside and outside, that have to have each other to exist yet cannot stand being together. Symbiotic yet deeply disharmonic. It’s connected to Heidegger’s concept of DWELLING, and it’s two interpretations: one states that “a man is where he comes from” and one states that “a man is a connecting unit of the objects he is traveling in between”.

Allon said: “I can edit my biography and make it collective, and that’s the power of art, that I can pretend to be me’. That statement makes Allon’s artistic action more important that it objects, yet they have to be one to exist. The border, like in Kafka or Beuys’ works, between life and art is very thin, and also provides a cathartic sexual ecstasy. It’s interesting to think through those prisms on Allon’s work and to try to sketch his collective / personal character. In between frustration and artistic act, he uses humor and self-irony that does not leave the spectator happy. In previous works, he dealt with trauma, and in this exhibition, he makes fun of the thought it might have been resolved."

Credits: 

Gabirol gallery director: Lia Tzigler 
Special thanks: Shimon Allon, Eran Inbar, Avner Pinchover, Karni Barzilai, Anna Bershtansky 
Photos at the opening: Avner Pinchover 
Images on the website: Goni Riskin