The actors in Guy Bar Amotz’s exhibition/performance are simple everyday materials – a garbage bag, containers of unhulled tahini (“Al-Jamal” and “Dove Symbol”), and two sheets of paper on an old coffee table.
They are usable and they fit unobtrusively into the surroundings. They could be placed on a stand and turned into a “still life” or “nature morte” – that is to say, an “art work”. A work of visual art is still, silent, it is spoken about, and the interpretations are in the language of art, aesthetics, which to some degree is a circular discourse. Guy Bar Amotz does not remain in aesthetics, and the “low” materials he uses are neither “nature” nor “still”. Already in his final year show as a student at Bezalel (1994), he exhibited fans that moved as fans move, made a noise, turned towards and away from one another, all controlled by a computer. The name he gave that show may also be projected onto the present exhibition – “Love Songs to a Friendly Environment”. He has come a long way since then: Guy Bar Amotz is an active artist, one of the most fascinating and original in international contemporary art, and his work is always radical. The art market fascinates him from the same aspects that he finds interesting in the “Al-Jamal” or the “Dove Symbol” tahini, which can be found as kosher shelf products in many supermarkets in Israel. These aspects entail elusive networks of relationships among collaborators or, in other words, the logic of a system, the plurisignification of language and, of course, the narrow crack through which one can bring about a shift and imagine differently, which is perhaps a good definition of radical art. The “action” in the exhibition is minimal – the sheets of paper have a movement of their own, the tahini containers act as paperweights, and the oscillation, like a wave that rises and falls, is always unexpected, a kind of choreography. In the garbage bag, too, something is happening: the garbage bag speaks. The shift is from the banal, the obvious, to the magical, and the marvel is that the magic works even though its “mechanism” is exposed and clearly visible.
[Translator’s note:] “Al-Jamal” and “Dove Symbol” are the names of two brands of Palestinian tahini, both produced in Nablus.
גיא בר אמוץ- אני אתה משתפי פעולה
Guy Bar Amotz
Curator: Galia Bar Or
November 2013-January 2014