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ABSALON SQUARE WAS INAUGURATED IN THE NAME OF THE ARTIST IN ASHDOD
Absalon Square was inaugurated at the intersection of Rogozin and Moshe Dayan streets in Ashdod on Wednesday, March 2, 22, at 10:00, in the presence of the Mayor of Ashdod - Dr. Yehiel Lasri, the parents of Avshalom-Elie and Adele Eshel and guests.
February 2023 – June 2023
Pulse & Breathing Rhythm in Contemporary Art
Participating artists: Absalon, Sharon Azagi, Christian Boltanski, Louise Bourgeois, Miriam Cabessa, Lilach Chitayat, Sophie Dupont, Regina José Galindo, Gideon Gechtman, Douglas Gordon, Inbal Hoffman, Dikla Moskovich, Avi Sabah, Alma Shneor, Dor Zlekha Levy
Our lives depend on the flow of air and blood. Every movement and sensation are activated by an internal rhythm of air that is drawn into the lungs and then exhaled, and of blood that flows from the heart and ultimately back. The body operates like a well-designed machine, whose complex systems are hidden from view under the skin. The exhibition presents works in which the hidden rhythm of breathing and the pulse is given a visual and vocal expression; works that penetrate the depths of the body and expose the invisible. The internal mechanism that sets the body in motion opens onto the surface, and the boundaries between interior and exterior blur.
The pulse and breathing rates are among the vital signs by which physicians determine whether a person is healthy, sick, or dead. The vital signs are directly affected by one's emotional state: they change in moments of calm or excitement, fear or infatuation. The exhibition features some of the real products of these vital signs in works of art from the past twenty years. Lines, lights, and sounds are generated as the work of art is adapted to the heartbeats and the cycle of inhalation-exhalation, which determine the structure of the work. This rhythm—whether calm and regular, fast and fidgety, or completely still—may guide one into the depths of consciousness. Alternatively, it can make us conscious of those who are bleeding or those who have been deprived of air to breathe.
THE SEVEN YEARS OF ABSALON
Documentary film: Israel 2022, 60 min, Hebrew, English and French, Hebrew & English subtitles
Meir Eshel, a 22-year-old beach-boy from Southern Israel, buys a one-way ticket to Paris and re-invents himself as an artist calling himself Absalon. He quickly rises to art-scene stardom, showcased by the most prestigious museums worldwide: the Venice Bienalle, Centre Pompidou Paris, Tate Modern Gallery London, Israel Museum.
Absalon’s success was short-lived – almost 7 years pass since his arrival in Paris until his tragic death, during the peak of his success at the age of 28.
More than 25 years later, his younger brother Dani Eshel’s first assignment as estate manager – is to sell Absalon’s final art piece.
Through his journey we learn about the life of a unique Israeli artist.
Created by & Script: David Ofek, Amit Azaz
Production: David Noy, Yoram Ivry
Production Company: Cinemax Productions Ltd.
Editing: Yarden Kum
Cinematography: Yoram Ivry
Research: Amit Azaz, Sharon Hammou
Sound Design: Rotem Dror
Music: Asaf Talmudi, Yuval Goldenberg, Didi Erez
Source: Cinemax Productions Ltd
Supporters & Broadcasters: Yes Docu, Yehoshua Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts, Mifal HaPayis
Exhbition at CAPC, Bordeaux, France
With: Absalon, Alain Buffard, Dora García, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Marie-Ange Guilleminot, Mona Hatoum, Laura Lamiel, Myriam Mihindou
The group exhibition Absalon Absalon takes the prematurely interrupted work of the Franco-Israeli artist Absalon as its starting point and proposes new interpretations via a selection of works by other artists of his generation and a network of conceptual and formal affinities. Best known for his Cellules (Cells) – geometric, architectural constructions painted in immaculate white which the artist conceived and constructed to live in – Absalon’s practice has often been considered part of a genealogy of avantgardes, a continuation of abstract radicalism, both generic and idealised, disconnected from worldly contingencies. Without wanting to overlook the harmony between Absalon’s work and a certain historic teleology, this exhibition interrogates intent and meaning by proposing a more subjective, political and embodied approach.
From a large selection of his drawings, models, sculptures, maps and built-to-scale prototypes, we attempt to show how Absalon’s work – whose linear trajectory ought to have led to a life-long project that would have surpassed the field of art – can be articulated around unique new ways of thinking. In retrospect, beneath the surface-level minimalism of his works, Absalon penetrated a multitude of social, affective and psychological questions all of which concern the emancipation of a physical body from a political body. His Cellules are less claustrophobic or deductive than they are built-to-scale mental and physical spaces: both protected and connected. They may almost be seen as bio-parasitical devices that function as a place for living and care in an environment considered by the artist as the sum of various agendas and determinants set by a culture his work would allow him to liberate himself from. They may almost be seen as bio-parasitical devices that function as a place for living and care in an environment considered by the artist as the sum of various agendas and determinants set by a culture his work would allow him to liberate himself from.
As a way of providing comparisons with this concrete utopia, and as part of a logic which is less dialectical than it is an opening of possibilities, we have chosen works by eight artists (Alain Buffard, Dora García, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Marie-Ange Guilleminot, Mona Hatoum, Laura Lamiel, Myriam Mihindou) that we believe will generate multiple perspectives. Dissimulated amongst Absalon’s œuvre, these works should be viewed as couriers that allow for the transmission of cultural, spiritual, identarian, poetic and sentimental questions that go beyond Absalon’s primary monolithic and often impenetrable approach. This programme places Absalon’s searing career retrospectively: not within the hypothetical spirit of his time – the 1990s – but rather as part of a network of political, formal and affective resonances whose echoes can still be heard today.
The reconsideration of Absalon’s work almost thirty years after his death necessitates a reflection of his singularity as well as his proximity to a certain generation of artists that emerged onto the international stage at the turn of the nineties. Absalon’s work – extended entirely towards a will to live and on his own terms – should be situated with those artists who, particularly in the context of the fight against AIDS, put aside any prevarication which had once separated activism from artistic practice in order to immerse themselves in practices motivated by the urgency and imperative necessity to exist and bear witness to this existence. These are embodied denunciations of mechanisms of oppression and determinism, made into performances and physically “incorporated”, that places Absalon’s searing career retrospectively: not within the hypothetical spirit of his time – the 1990s – but rather as part of a network of political, formal and affective resonances whose echoes can still be heard today.
Curators: Guillaume Désanges and François Piron