Image: All images courtesy of Gili Avissar. Photography by Elad Sarig.
Gili Avissar is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Tel Aviv. Avissar creates large-scale textile installations and videos, combining object-making and performance. The artist’s latest installation, Finger Play, engages in the space of the stage behind the scenes, drawing inspiration from the culture of the travelling theatre. It generates experiences of transience, temporariness, and wandering, characterised by changing and informal relations between stage, set actors, and audience. As in a travelling theatre, the installation embodies the possibility of being rapidly folded into a suitcase to journey to the next stop. The artist, like the itinerant player, is ready at any moment to rise up, pack up their artworks, and depart.
For Avissar, transience is both the sine qua non for his work and integral to it: each detail can shapeshift, rise or descend, unravel and be re-sewn together. This is a playful work, concealing and revealing, using textiles to create cultural environments, bodies and motion. This is a hybrid creation inviting contact, restless in the same way that the creative process never rests. The artist sews, and sews some more, in a feverish repetitive action full of material. The artist creates out of a mixture, out of existential forbidden combinations, in eclectic and intuitive connections.
A double play of fingers takes place in the work — the artist’s fingers that spin the material around, executing the physical gestures, and the thousands and thousands of cut-out and outline “fingers” that turn into objects, becoming the expression of a physical, organic dimension. Some of these objects may be work, as if asking to contain something more, to expand the skin, and blue the borders between viewer and artwork.
When the exhibition closes it will disappear, be folded up, shift its shape, and perhaps, one day, will be re-hung with the fingers stretching out once again. Bit then it will be a different artwork.Gili Avissar’s Finger Play is curated by Drorit Gur Arie and Tal Schwartz and is currently open at the Ehad Ha'am 9 Gallery, Tel Aviv. Find out more about the exhibition on Gili’s website. You can also read our past interview with Gili on the Selvedge blog.