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Meeting Points: Ronit Agassi, Gary Goldstein at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Gary Goldstein, from Botticelli Silouettes, 2003, A series of 32 sheets, correction fluid, mailing labels and ink on paper.
TEL AVIV.- The exhibition "Meeting Points," which links together in one space the works of Ronit Agassi and Gary Goldstein, is in itself a meeting point: a joint exhibition, which is neither a summary of cooperation nor necessarily its beginning. This is an event that convenes the closeness of a single space for two separate utterances, two idiosyncratic monologues that neither complement nor contrast each other, but rather flow and curve of and from themselves. In presenting these two monologues side by side, the exhibition seeks to characterize them as separate but intersecting processes.

The monologues are both biographically anchored, yet the biographies (especially the earlier chapters, during which the affecting molds of each artist were imprinted) are wholly different: Agassi was born (1949) and raised on Kibbutz Merhavia; Goldstein was born (1950) in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Hartford, Connecticut. At a glance, the unfathomable distance between the historical surroundings framing their formative years is evident, however, an overview may pinpoint a similar background in the fact that both artists—born into backgrounds molded by typical ideological forms during the orthodox-optimistic stage of their existence—experienced with intensity the discrepancy between the promised and aspired for and the realistic.

Both bodies of work are characterized by the same continuing, serial talk, which is not summarized and exhausted but repeatedly unfolded in a multiplicity of appearances and signs pointing to representations of secondary tales leading to more and more sub-stories, whereas the dots, hatchings and holes—signs of a necessary, automatic, repetitive gesture—transmit a message of urgency. Agassi and Goldstein both tempt us closer to the works with all sorts of promises: Goldstein, for example, promises light enjoyment of the familiar, embodied in the accessible faחade of comics-like arrays, or the decisive lightness of images defined with a clear sketching line; in Agassi's work, temptation is found in the fragile, in intangible images that force us closer to ascertain they are really there. Yet, once the temptation is achieved, once they have ensnared us with closeness, both artists leave us without symbolism keys or linking narrative, surprised and lost in a multiplicity of reference points and image-rich surfaces. Goldstein's works, which seemed amusing from a distance, now raise restlessness, even frightfully serious discomfort; Agassi's, which emitted a quality of rare preciousness, turn out to be arrays of piercings and pinholes, the result of diligent and somewhat violent action on cheap, simple materials. The gaps between the seen from afar and the experienced from close up, between the promised and the felt, bring us back yet again to the feats of reality in the constitutive biography, presenting the continuing resonance of events whose historical time is known and defined.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art | Meeting Points | Ronit Agassi | Gary Goldstein |


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