TEL AVIV.- The visual and the verbal, the eye and the ear, are the protagonists of this exhibition. Alongside each other and together live Herman Melville's novel and a selection of works of art; some are aware of their identity, others have been baptized for the context, but all ask (if they could ask) "Call me Moby Dick."
The novel Moby-Dick (1851) Herman Melville's literary creation recounts the testimony-tale of Ishmael, the only survivor from the the Pequod's whale-hunting voyage. Using a linguistic texture intertwining biblical, Shakespearean and scientific sources, among others, Melville wove a "sailing encyclopedia": a whole world arises from the adventures of the ship's crew, above all the monomania of Captain Ahab: his obsessive drive to take revenge of the big white whale, who had severed his leg in a previous encounter, plowing a deep scar in his body and soul.
The question of the visual image's readability, raised in the title of Ernst Gombrich's famous essay "How to Read a Painting," drifts along the great Ekphrasis ocean, as ancient as the shield of Achilles described by Homer and as language's talent to provide the object of art with a voice. Defining ekphrasis as the verbal representation of graphic representation embodies the possibility of cross-referring its limbs and offering an echoing title to Gombrich's: "How to See a Text." However, the binary structure drafted here to present the dramatis personae is alien to those seafarers who wander along coiling currents, who have swum through libraries and sailed museums and hold a dialogue with the writing eye and with the narrative intertwined in the gaze. For the works in the exhibition do not seek translation or reciprocal representation, but rather a mutual bearing of the yoke of representation's blocked moments, of the invisible topics indicated by the visual and verbal image alike. Herman Melville, beyond his novel Moby-Dick, sent his hands "among the unspeakable foundations of the world," and it is there towards the elusive that the works in the exhibition turn.
Artists: Eitan Ben-Moshe, Yael Burstein, Shibetz Cohen, Sharon Etgar, David Ginton, Meirav Heiman and Yossi Ben-Shoshan, Noga Linchevsky, Anna Lukashevsky, Rami Maymon, Naama Miller, Michal Na'aman, Elizabeth Peyton, Henry Shlesnyak, Moran Shoub, Jakob Steinhardt, Gal Weinstein, Yael Yudkovik.
I like a good grip; I like to feel something in this slippery world that can hold Herman Melville, Moby-Dick