Love Does(nt) Exist.
“The idea for this exhibition started after a conversion with a friend about love. He explained to me that the word LOVE doesn’t exist in Juhuri, the traditional language of the Mountain Jews of the eastern Caucasus Mountains, that he speaks. Instead, they are using different words to describe LOVE. I was fascinated by this poetic way of using language.”
The Israeli artist Mirit Weinstock’s first monographic exhibition at the Periscope Gallery in Tel-Aviv is entitled ‘Love Does(nt) Exist’; the work started out as a literary exercise because the artist asked various people to write a personal essay on love, but without mentioning the word itself. Based on these writings, Mirit Weinstock created ten new works—the resulting pieces and the techniques employed are as varied as the texts and the ensemble can also be viewed as a single work of art.
The artist has continued the work she began in 2012, when she started to embroider poems onto paper using human hair. The connection with animals is highlighted in the piece entitled Dog Spelled Backwards, in which Mirit Weinstock has interpreted Shlomzion Keinan’s text that enables readers to understand a dog’s feelings and love for his master when he finds him dead in the bath.
The artist herself is at the core of the work If It Was Wind, which is based on Vincent Huguet’s text, and here we can see Mirit Weinstock blowing against the wind, against the world, with tearful eyes — a small poetic gesture that seems to express the fragile nature of existence. But there is some ambiguity: is the artist defying the elements of nature, in this case the wind, which is a frequent element that often features in her oeuvre, or is she presenting a personal interpretation of the life of Mirit Weinstock?
The element of wind is central to the work entitled Resisey Layla (Hebrew translation), a wall drawing of eyelashes and its shadows, which is inspired by her former work, windmaps, created in 2012. This work’s origin title is a quote from the Biblical ‘Song of Songs’. Adi Sorek writes about first moments of love, as within a dream, where “rain falls on sun”, traces of feelings are blending, indulging and tormenting like in a storm. She sees the eyelashes as a symbol of a delicate border between in and out, him and her.
Is it the exhibition’s theme or again the wind that inspired the work Blow As Hard As You Can? Moran Shuab’s text has been interpreted in a deliberately ambiguous manner and the artist’s decision to express herself through language attests to her fascination with words, their origins, meanings, and their many entertaining uses.
Think Without Words isan artistic rather than linguistic exercise, in which gestures express the things that cannot be communicated with words. Is this intended to be a guide for a new way of thinking, or an alternative to writing?
Esti G. Haim’s use of the expression Met Alaich (Hebrew translation) concludes this linguistic trilogy. Mirit Weinstock experiments withmonumentality, places the work outside the gallery, and draws viewers’ attention to an important aspect that is now often overlooked: the etymology of words. What is particularly striking is that all these popular Hebrew expressions for ‘I love you’ are underpinned by words such as ‘die’, ‘burn’, ‘destroy’, and even certain cannibalistic connotations like ‘you ate my heart’. Does this violence arise from the passion of love? Or is it cultural? The artist has chosen the most popular and common of those expressions: Met Alaich, which literally means ‘dying on you’.
Oded Carmeli has written a poem entitled Doppler Doppler Doppler. The Doppler effect is a physical phenomenon that shows the apparent difference between the frequency, at which waves of sound leave the source to reach an observer. Oded’s poem is referring to his love-hate-relationship to language. The poem’s rhythm as well as its ambiguity inspired the artist to create two porcelain shuttlecock balls, whose fragility is highlighted by deliberately broken parts. The Doppler effect, which is present in the poem by playful use of words and letters, adds to the silent sculpture work an imaginary sound. The irregular velocity of the motions reflects the poem’s rhythm, but also the relationship of two persons.
Voyager 3 is the exhibition’s synthetic work, but can also be viewed as a single work. Mirit Weinstock is fascinated by the existence of NASA’s Voyager Golden Records, for the two space vessels Voyager 1 + 2, the first of which was launched in 1977. The records contained sounds, music, and images that documented life on Earth, in the hope that extra-terrestrial beings would discover and decipher all the codes of our civilisations. Mirit Weinstock employs this image by displaying a gramophone from 1977 on which is placed the book containing all the texts for ‘Love Does(nt) Exist’. Based on the same principle, but with entirely different content, the secret information is contained on this turntable, with its various writings on the theme of Love …
‘Love Does(nt) Exist’ addresses a universal theme, one that is familiar to the visitors, who will be able to associate it with their own experiences and visions. Hence, the exhibition holds up a mirror to contemporary society, crossing cultures and languages, a challenge that the artist Mirit Weinstock has decided to meet in order to present her personal vision.