Project no.164

Hagit Shahal

Faded Lovers
Chief Curator: Rachel Sukman
Guest Curator: Irit Levin

Opening: Fridat, 26 December 2014, 12 p.m.
Closing: Thursday, 29 January 2015, 2 p.m.

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6 Zamenhoff St. , Tel Aviv, tel.: 03-5254191
Gallery hours: Mon.- Thurs. 11a.m - 6p.m.; Fri. 11a.m.- 2p.m.


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Faded Lover, 2013
Soap-ground aquatint and drypoint on tissue paper, 20x15 cm
Edition of 1
Faded Lover, 2013
Soap-ground aquatint and drypoint on tissue paper, 20x15 cm
Edition of 1
Faded Lover, 2013
Soap-ground aquatint and drypoint on tissue paper, 20x15 cm
Edition of 1
Faded Lover, 2013
Soap-ground aquatint and drypoint on tissue paper, 20x15 cm
Edition of 1
       

To be Simon's Daughter , 2014
Drypoint, 20x40 cm
Edition of 1

To be My Own Daughter , 2014
Drypoint, 20x40 cm
Edition of 1
To be Coco's Daughter , 2014
Drypoint, 20x40 cm
Edition of 1
To be Faviola's Daughter , 2014
Drypoint, 20x40 cm
Edition of 1
       
Not-My-Dress, 2012
Soft and hard ground aquatint, 20x18 cm
Edition of 3

Shoes, 2012
Watercolor on paper,15x34 cm
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To be Frida's Daughter , 2014
Drypoint, 20x40 cm
Edition of 1
To be Sylvia's Daughter , 2014
Drypoint, 20x40 cm
Edition of 1
       
Skirt , 2012
Monotype, 25x20 cm
Edition of 1
Underskirt , 2012
Monotype, 40x34 cm
Edition of 1
Dress, 2012
Monotype, 30x22 cm
Edition of 1
Bridal Gown, 2012
Monotype, 30x22 cm
Edition of 1
       
Moshe, 2014
Monoprint, 40x30
Edition of 1
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Moshe, 2014
Monoprint, 40x30
Edition of 1
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Avigail My Teacher, 2013
An artist's book with texts and 15 etchings, printed and bound by the artist, 20x16 cm (closed)
Edition of 3
Avigail My Teacher, 2013
An artist's book with texts and 15 etchings, printed and bound by the artist, 20x16 cm (closed)
Edition of 3
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Moshe, 2014
Monoprint, 40x30
Edition of 1
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Second Glance: The Portrait in Hagit Shahal's Work

Dr. Guy Morag Tzepelewitz

 

In the course of her artistic career, Hagit Shahal has engaged repeatedly with portraiture and the documentation of expression. In recent years, following the introduction of the camera into cell phones, self-documentation and the portrait have become central to the visual language surrounding us. While echoes of the photographic act and the need for documentation may be identified as recurring motifs in Shahal's oeuvre, in the current exhibition one may sense a dialectical tension between the works, which almost calls for their division into two.

With a limited, monochromatic, draftswoman's palette, Shahal creates two series of prints distinguished by their subject matter and its treatment. The first addresses femininity. Amidst Frida Kahlo, Coco Chanel, and the teacher Avigail, one encounters Shahal's own portrait. With only a few contours, she situates her image within a sequence of powerful women who have influenced her and shaped her inner world. Shahal, however, does not immerse herself in the soft nostalgic image; she constructs an entire world of images which touches upon aesthetics, flattening the image. She splits the space in two so that each portrait is also given a doppelganger—or, in her case, a female double, set against a backdrop of ornamental wallpaper unique to each portrait. Alongside the women, Shahal also presents female accessories associated with aesthetics as well as with the female body using or wearing them, such as a dress or stiletto shoes. Unlike the women, who are depicted at the margins of the paper, the objects occupy the center of the composition, thereby acquiring the validity of a portrait. At the end result of this female series, the viewer confronts a flat, one-dimensional image which elicits questions about Shahal's attitude towards the female body and the female portrait, as well as the need to decorate the latter with aesthetic justification.

This modus operandi is contrary to the depiction of male figures in the exhibition. Whereas the prints of female imagery may call to mind art created by women mainly in the 1980s and 1990s, the works featuring male portraits go back several decades, to the art of engraving practiced mainly by men back in the early 20th century . Shahal thus takes a surprising step: she portrays the men in a different, somewhat romantic, three-dimensional and much more refined manner than the women, omitting the ornaments and the background as a whole. Despite the gap between these different modes of treatment, both series illustrate Shahal's urge to explore the modern tradition of portraiture that preceded her—from Elizabeth Peyton who was active in the late 20th century to Hermann Struck in the beginning of the same century—while delving into portraiture as a contemporary theme, and the ways in which its treatment influences the image itself and the viewer's experience.

 

[Hebrew copy editing and consultation: Noga Stiassny]