Exhibition Opening: Thursday, 24.1.19, 20:00
Exhibition Closing: Saturday, 02.3.19
The Diaghilev Gallery, 56 Mazeh Street, Tel Aviv
Rona Perlman’s work ranges from abstract to figurative while examining the relationship between the painting’s materials and its contents. At the same time, she re-examines the narratives and conventions that have been established in society in general, and in the history of art in particular. Her means range from classical practice of oil painting on canvas in which the image is born out of nothing, to collages that use unconventional materials and ready-made images. It seems that the figurative image in her work emerges out of the abstract and chaotic base layer, taking shape as the substrate is erased and blurred, as in sculpting through the removal of matter. The abstract and geometrical works are more reminiscent of stained glass and the transparent substrate reinforces this context.
The body of works presented in this exhibition is characterized by the use of office copy paper, and as a result of this – in bluish colors that range from the common and ‘cheap’ Indigo to Ultramarine, which is identified in the history of art with prestige and even holiness. Copy paper is almost not in use today as the digital file can be reprinted endlessly, so the use of this paper in the current body of work gives them a nostalgic and melancholic look, feelings reinforced by the blue color. Blue, as we know, is associated with the Romantic period in painting, with the night and with sadness, as reflected in Picasso’s mourning paintings (‘The Blue Period’). At the same time, it also symbolizes authority, knowledge and spirituality, as seen in Kandinsky’s paintings or in paintings depicting Mary the mother of Jesus in the Renaissance and later periods. It is common to think that blue is the favorite color of most people, and Perlman uses all its attributes and feelings to discuss questions of matter and spirit, power and weakness, man-woman relations in society and culture, secularism and holiness.
One of the central themes of this exhibition is the question of origin and reproduction in art, a question that has preoccupied art and philosophy since the birth of the modern era and the development of technologies for printing and copying, first mechanical and then digital technologies. This question is closely related to the question of authenticity of the art work and its cultural, social and economic value. In her works, Perlman seems to be trying to restore the work of art’s ‘halo’, lost, according to Walter Benjamin, with the invention of photography and the development of technical and mass means of reproduction. She distinguishes herself by eliminating a fundamental element of commercial reproduction, which is the use of technology. Her means are manual and non-mechanical, she creates prints by “domestic” means, the transfer of color through heat and the like; these means of reproduction are used to create original and unique works (one-off).
Rona Perlman uses not only ready-made materials, but also the images embedded in them. In our case we are dealing with two images identified with the Lanneret company, which produces this particular copy paper. The images are a drawing hand and a male falcon (lanneret, as the name of the company). Both can be seen as masculine images – the hand that chronicles the history, writes the verdicts, the holy scriptures … and the hunting falcon, uplifting and far-sighted. Both are examined in the eyes of a creative woman who appropriates and manipulates them, takes them out of their cultural context and uses them as her own.