Albert and the Dots: Reading Rooms

Alfred Gallery
Tel Aviv, Israel
22nd March – 13th April 2013
Private View: 21st March, 8-10pm
Curated by Gali Timen

“Barely ventilated, strangely lit, full of books and magazines, and with that faint musty smell: reading rooms are supposed to be quiet, silent spaces. You can almost catch every breath, hear every page turn, occasionally you hear the librarian whisper or an unexpected sneeze. People sit there deeply engrossed, or pretending to read, gathering information and collating research. From time to time they write down scholarly notes, they try to expand their knowledge taking from the books. But why do we learn, in this way, about life? 

Only from sitting in reading rooms and reading books can we discover knowledge worth knowing? There, in this quiet and still place, you can create the subversive, something mysterious, that can pop up from the silence and surprise you. Each artist involved in the Reading Rooms exhibition has created something that not only comes from this kind of institution, but represents the hidden side of it that is often overlooked.”

My work ‘Appropriating Joseph Beuys’ How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (before Marina Abramovic)’ is related to questions I’ve been considering for a while about the nature of appropriation in art and the ways in which that is justified. As part of my research, I am interested in how “aesthetic objects are often used as transferors of meaning within culture in general, and in this sense are part of a complex social system of exchange, be that ritualised, monetary or ideological.” In short, this means that to create a consensus of understanding, there needs to be elements of appropriation within society. A popular example of this would be the use of internet memes.

I was particularly interested in developing this work on a number of levels, as it not only appropriates ritual and Shamanistic imagery within the original performance, but is then reappropriated some 40 years later as an homage. My appropriation (based on an image of myself as a toddler) represents a debate on a kind of creativity which allows ‘marginal’ voices to represent themselves, rather than meaning and intention being attributed to them. My position in this work is somewhat ambiguous, as both the artist and subject, but is intended to act as an interpretation of the artworks within the title, whilst exploring the nature of self-representation in general.

The artists taking part in ‘Albert and the Dots: Reading Rooms’ are: Adi Bezalel, Dvir Cohen-Kedar, Dan Birenboim, Alicia Shahaf, Yael Ravid, Karen Harvey, Steve Perfect, Leanne Moden, Louise Atkinson, Alma Machness Kass, Sharon Pazner, Carmela Weiss and Gali Timen.

The curator, Gali Timen is a conceptual artist and curator, and a graduate of the MA at Central Saint Martins, London. Gali curates projects in alternative spaces as well as conventional ones.