New and intimate solo exhibition at Milta 2 Gallery, Rehovot, Israel.
29 March - 28 June, 2019
The idea of memory is evidently present in the works of Rotem Reshef. Like memory, they too are full of remnants, images from life, experiences and emotions. Reshef creates imprints on the surface of the canvas using plants, plastic sheets and pieces of wood that she submerges in diluted paint. Later she peels off the materials, leaving faint imprints that are both a testimony of the materials that created them, yet stand alone as a new and enigmatic image.
Her recent work “Ghost Library” was not created without precedent. It might bring to mind the libraries created by Claudio Parmiggiani, that since the 1970’s creates imprints using soot and dust. In his working process, Parmiggiani seals a room containing a library and sets fire in the middle of the room. After the room is filled with soot, he removes the books andshelves, revealingthe delicate outlines of the books no longer present.
Micha Ullman also used a library in one of his most famous works. “Library”, in Bebelplatz in Berlin, is a memorial to the burning of books in Germany in 1933. His library is buried in the ground and the people passing by look down at it as into an open grave, symbol of the open wound that will never completely heal.
While Parmiggiani and Ullman are reducing existence to the lack of it, Reshef does the opposite. Unlike them, she focuses on what remains rather then on the object that is no longer there. Her Libraries are an illusion; her books are made of pieces of wood and cardboard. A longer observation might revealthat the libraries also resemble the skyline of a city and that the round shapes that float between the shelves take the form of moons and suns in a futuristic age. Reshef is creating a new world and the absence turns into a new creation of real substance.
Reshef’s creating process is playing a significant part in her art. Chance and accident, and the tension between the instinct to control and the wish to let go, are among her most vital working tools. Reshef relinquishes her control and allowsthe materials to dictate the outcome. While her works may seemstatic, as they are depict the imprint of objects once submerged and restrained in paint, in reality the paintingsare full of rhythm and movement that brings to life the universe that Reshef creates.