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Moshe Roas

Curator: Irena Gordon


Moshe Roas' works are in a continuous process

of auto-deconstruction and reconstruction. His work is self-conscious, and formulates a rhetoric of negation, through which it examines the relation between the material, and the ambivalent, evasive consciousness it carries within itself. In this rst solo-exhibition, Roas, a graduate of the Textile Design Department at Shenkar College, examines textile as a space of time and memory by being attached to the human body, its history and culture. As he tracks textile's layers and narratives, those material texts concealed inside it, he continues to its rigid opposite – metal – and breathes life into it, as well as fragility and agility reminiscent of those of soft fabric, that can be tied and unraveled. Roas renounces closed forms or images, spreads the endless continuity hidden in the fabric, and nds it also in the metal, whose sharp edges he unravels.

His works are created from layers of etchings and burns in the fabric and metal. They are in different stages of annihilation and disintegration, yet only in appearance. The etching is always to the threshold of a delicate yet strong embroidery, the dismantling is always to the extreme point of maintaining an active, existing "being", the scorch always ends at the same unseen point, where the material still contains the possibility of being "useful".

Roas challenges the appearance of things, and penetrates into their hidden layers, be they fabric, metal, or sponge. He breaks their completeness, exposes their boundaries, peels their surface. This undoing allows him to invent the stories of imagined culture and history, their precious treasures, wealth and abundance, and at the same time deliver their archaeology, the heaping of time and memory within them, the distant gaze at their glorious yet banal remains. The body of work offers structured tension between establishing an invitation to touch, feel and cuddle, and exposure of processes of alienation and disappearance that slowly occur, so it seems, as we are watching.

Many anthropological, philosophical and aesthetic studies have been written about the structured connection between text and textile, and its basis can be found in thecommon etymology of the two terms. The source is in the Indo-European root tek, which means "to make" and "to create", and after the word mutated into Greek and consequently into Latin, the word textile, "woven", was created, from which the word "text" was derived, after the dense handwriting, its appearance reminiscent of weaving. Palimpsest (Greek: scraping and re-erasing), is a manuscript from which the original text was scratched and erased, and a new text was written in its place, carrying the traces of the former text. Most often these were ancient manuscripts, written and erased, for reasons of economy at times, and as an expansion or interpretation of the original text at others.

Roas' works too function as palimpsests, and carry within them memories of an undeciphered, inconclusive past, where layers of exposed, yet not empty spaces of fragments of images, possibilities of recreation and dismantling, are revealed time and again: cotton sheets made of patches etched and pressed into each other, with an expanding, abstract drawing spread over them; etched metal beams, thin as parchment sheets or ancient jewels, positioned side by side in a long line, from which alternately ow etched pieces of fabric, and drawing traces, possibly of their shadow or of their complete possible form; fragile objects resembling decorative instruments, made of etched metal patches, alternately golden and rusty, are rendered as precious treasures and archaeological remnants at the same time.

Roas' gentle, live drawing is born into the bedding and evolves away from inside, as a force working with the unraveling of the material. The drawing reacts to the occurrences and continues them, both present and merging. It unstitches and weaves as it passes from the fabric to the wall, to the metal and back to the wall. Sometimes Roas recaptures the drawing inside an asphalt covered metal board. He draws and opens curving paths, and then etches the board and leaves it thus, without cleaning the asphalt and passing the image from the board to the paper using a printing press, as is common in the etching technique. Thus, the metal plate is left in its blackness and darkness, like a black mirror, re ecting the wild, mysterious forces working in culture. The spectator, trapped inside the ctional space Roas weaves, nds himself ung between ashes of memory and its insistent erasure, between a corporal and substantial presence of time, and its uninhibited evaporation. The artist undoes the material, and drops the mutually possessed body and consciousness into a carousel of beauty and destruction.

Irena Gordon

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