S2: Michael Argov- Curragated
Lihi Turjeman- Center of Gravity
For her first solo show at Sommer Contemporary Art, Israeli artist Lihi Turjeman will exhibit mainly large-scale paintings made in the last two years. These continues Turjeman’s interest in scraping the historical layers of specific locations, as seen in her Brenner 17A project.
The exhibition deals with the burden of history through certain architectural localities. Most of the works revolve around locations relevant to the local national and religious narrative. Rosh Hanikra grottoes, where Ha’Palmach exploded the historical Palestine Railways in 1948, and the view from Mount Nebo in Jordan, where, according to the Bible, Moses first saw the Promised Land, are depicted in large-scale monochromatic paintings. The works centre on a massive floor piece, which grants the show its title and is based on the floor plan of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Turjeman flattens the octagonal, sacred structure into a two-dimensional carpet, an icon.
Many of these large works were made on the floor, while the artist rubs, smears, kneads and massages the canvases with various mixtures made of pigments, glue and tiny gravel, using rollers, sponges and squeegees, and often her own body weight. Thus, her practice can be seen in relation to action painting, but differs from the mainly masculine tradition in its close attention to details and minor nuances. Another masculine tradition that Turjeman may be identified with is Minimalist painting. Her works always begin with a systematic layout as she divides the canvas into grids. But her works refuses to surrender to minimalist’s rigid abstract formality, and the image itself is always present.
The sites present in this show are apparently delivered under a kind of nostalgic, mythical air. However, the artist does not yearn for any piece of land, but rather indicates the lack inherent in these localities, and the absurdity in trying to control abstract spaces with national borders or religious narratives.
Lihi Turjeman (b. 1985) lives and works in Tel-Aviv. She owns a BFA and MFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel. In 2008-9 she studies at the École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France. She exhibited solo shows and participated in group exhibitions in major Israeli and international venues, among which: Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel (2016); Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Petach Tikva, Israel (2016); Le Corridor, Cité International des Arts, Site du Marais, Paris, France (2015); Minotaur Gallery, Paris, France, (2015); The Jerusalem Artists House, Jerusalem, Israel (2014); and the Drawing Biennial, Jerusalem, Israel (2013). Previous residencies include the ‘Cite international desArt’, Paris, France (2015). Turjeman is currently a resident at Artport TLV, and exhibiting a solo show at Wilfrid Israel Museum, Kibbutz Hazorea, Israel.
S2: Michael Argov | Corrugated
This is the second solo show of the late artist Michael Argov (1920-1982) at Sommer Contemporary Art. The exhibition will focus on his Corrugated Works, a large body of work from the late 1960s and early 1970s. These are relief-like collages, combining corrugated card-board, fiberglass and aluminum and bright solid colors.
Throughout his extensive career, ranging from painting to photography and sculpture, Argov was constantly exploring the boundaries of plastic art and the perception of space. His early work included mainly realist figurative painting, focusing on landscape, portraits and female nudes. Studying in Paris during the late 1940s, he was greatly influenced by the “School of Paris” (L’ecole de Paris) and French paintings from the beginning of the 20th century. During the 1960’s, a revolutionary turning point took place in his work, when he turned to abstraction and minimalistic color fields.
The Corrugated Works precedes Argov’s fold paintings from the late 1970s – early 1980s, which were first exhibited in his previous show at Sommer Contemporary Art last year. The Corrugated Works show his early interest in geometrical folds and parallel ridges and furrows, which turn the painting’s surface into a landscape, making it part of the image itself, in a similar manner to Turjeman’s processing of the canvas. Physical plays of light and shadow also become a function, intersecting the bright fields of color. These are reminiscent of the energy of Malevich’s early compositions, and are related to international op-art and kinetic art and to the Israeli geometric abstraction of the time.
The Corrugated Works manifest Argov’s approach to painting as highly architectural and monumental in nature. His use of corrugated materials can be found in his large-scale works, such as his installation on the outside wall of the Israeli pavilion in Venice Biennale in 1970, a show which he referred to as an “architectonic ensemble inside the pavilion”. He later extended these works into public spaces, and they can be found covering large walls in buildings such as Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer (1974) and Hashalom Court of Netanya (1979), to name a few.
Michael Argov (1920-1982) was born in Vienna, Austria, lived and worked in Paris and Tel Aviv. He studied painting at The Avni Institute of Art and Design, Tel Aviv, Israel, under Yehezkel Streichman and Avigdor Steimatzky, and at the École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France. He exhibited solo shows in major venues in Israel and abroad, including Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel (1955); Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel (1959), The Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (1970); Helena Rubinstein Pavilion, Tel Aviv, Israel (1972); and participated in group shows at Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France (1957); Museum of Modern Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil (1962) and Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, Germany (1971), among rest.