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Posts Tagged ‘Israeli video art’

Young Israeli artist Karen Russo photographs tunnels and the other side of the moon in London

Posted by artradar on June 11, 2009


‘On a Clear Day We Can See Forever’, a solo show by Israeli-born artist Karen Russo is presented by Paradise Row until 13th June 2009. In her video installations, drawings, writing, and photographs, Russo attempts to illuminate the murkier side of human life. 

Karen Russo, The Mole Man 1, 2008, C Print on aluminium with wall mounted text

Karen Russo, The Mole Man 1, 2008, C Print on aluminium with wall mounted text

Karen Russo 1 text


The exhibition unites two bold  bodies of work.  

The Mole Man

The Mole Man is a fascinating photographic record of the compulsive activities of 75-year old William Lyttle, a long-term resident of Hackney, London, who has spent several decades digging an elaborate network of tunnels beneath his house.

Karen Russo, Mole Man 3

Karen Russo, Mole Man 3

Russo’s work examines the parallels between Lyttle’s subterranean tunnel-making and the process of artistic production. The underground world the work inhabits also delves deep into ideas of human consciousness and invisibility.

 Target: 090913 977 (Silberschlag Crater on Moon)

Target: 090913 977 (Silberschlag Crater on Moon), a video and sculptural work commissioned by the Hayward Gallery Project Space for a forthcoming exhibition ‘Deceitful Moon’, explores a controversial mental faculty know as Remote Viewing.

Discovered by ‘Consciousness Researcher’ Ingo Swann, and developed by physicists Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ for a CIA sponsored programme in the early 1970’s, Remote Viewing enables the perceiver or ‘viewer’ to describe in vivid detail a visual target without access to normal sense data or prior knowledge. The only information the viewer receives about the target is a series of coordinates which serve him as a reference.

The video documents the process of a ‘Remote Viewer’ attempting to identify a target on the dark side of the moon. His graphic impressions were recorded and then delivered to a professional sci-fi movie model maker who was, in turn, instructed to build a model based on the visual descriptions provided.



Karen Russo, Target: 090913 977 (Silberschlag Crater on Moon)

Karen Russo, Target: 090913 977 (Silberschlag Crater on Moon)

The resulting sculpture presents a fictional lunar landscape based on psychic information, where a poetic and fictional proposition becomes more tangible than a physical place. Different modes of perceiving the world – both the world outside and the world within – are engaged and a zone where the two might meet is suggested.


About Karen Russo

Born in Israel in 1974, Russo studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. She has had solo exhibitions in The Israel Museum in 2001 and the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel in 2000. She has been in group exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery Project Space, London, in 2009, the Ein Harod Museum, Israel in 2009, the Busan Biennial Korea 2008, the Tel Aviv Museum in 2008 and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in 2007.

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Posted in Drawing, Emerging artists, Gallery shows, Israeli, London, Photography, UK, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MOMA acquires Israeli artist Guy Ben-Ner video Moby Dick

Posted by artradar on April 20, 2009


This year Israeli artist’s Guy Ben-Ner’s Moby Dick (2000) has been acquired by MOMA. Ben-Ner was born in 1969 and is resident in New York and Berlin. He represented Israel in Venice Biennale 2005.

His art, resonant with socio-political allusion, is deep but far from bleak. His comic soap-opera style videos retell stories appropriated from other cultures and feature his family and household objects in a gloriously amusing, jerky slap-stick style.

Guy Ben-Ner, Moby Dick, video still, 2000

Guy Ben-Ner, Moby Dick, video still, 2000

In New York Magazine, Jeremy Salz described why Ben-Ner’s work is so different

All art comes from other art, and all immigrants come from other places. What makes Ben-Ner’s art stand out is that he puts these ideas together so well, continually cannibalizing the culture and objects he encounters, trying to make these things work for his art and his family. In this way, he echoes the immigrant’s story and the artist’s quest.1

Link to part of Ben-Ner Moby Dick video on youtube

Ben-Ner’s Moby Dick is a sly, improvisational retelling of Herman Melville’s novel in the form of a short, silent video punctuated with intertitles and magic-trick asides.

Turning the kitchen of his family home into an impromptu set, Ben-Ner and his young daughter reenact the novel from the time Ishmael (Ben-Ner) arrives at the Spouter Inn until the denouement of the story, when Captain Ahab (also played by Ben-Ner) meets his demise at sea. His daughter Elia plays the landlord of the Spouter Inn and later Pip, the deck boy of the whaling ship Pequod.

Ben-Ner’s rendition of Moby Dick is reminiscent of early silent cinema’s melodrama and slapstick comedy routines. The props that turn the kitchen into a theatrical set are entirely homemade and are wildly inventive. Cabinets and sink first stand in as the bar at the Spouter Inn, then with a wooden mast added they become the Pequod floating atop the sea (the kitchen floor). Simple cinematic illusions using magic tricks, animation, and sight gags abound, making reference to the comedic ploys of Buster Keaton and the magical trickery of Georges Méliès. The playful antics of father and daughter are fun to watch, but the work is not simply a parody. It is, rather, an investigation of creativity and innocence, the father/child relationship, and the home as a site for wayward adult and adolescent fantasies.2

note 1: Review of Guy Ben-Ner video in ‘Stealing Beauty’ New York magazine by Jeremy  Saltz

note 2: The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art , p. 191

note 3: Details of the Guy Ben-Ner’s Moby Dick in MOMA collection

note 4: Gallery show 2006 press release lists other videos

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Posted in Acquisitions, Children, Collectors, Domestic, Family, Israeli, Museum collectors, New York, Social, Video, Videos, West Asian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »