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Gustavo Valenzuela - In the Eye of the Beholder / Montefiore Auction House and Gallery

09/01/2014 to - 31/01/2014

"How would you translate a signature? And how would you avoid the translation?" Jacques Derrida

Gustavo Valenzuela, or by his Israeli name, Bar Valenzuela, is pondering this exact question in his work. As an Israeli artist of Chilean origins who arrived from foreign cultural roots, he tries to translate to the canvas the signature of the Israeli reality. Through his foreign eyes, the Israeli moments are revealed to the viewer only to uncover that the translation is impossible, everything is subject to interpretation. Everyday moments sidelong staged scenes: street player with a  landscape painting, nude aside to still life.  The common ground of these paintings are the eyes who viewed the origin, the eyes of the artist. However, over the long work process, the origin fades away and is irrelevant to the final product. Valenzuela imposes upon the works his past, the cultural differences between Israel and Chile, the daily experiences as an artist in a foreign country trying to make it his home. The scenes he chooses to stage, the tone of his paintings, and the small hints of the culture he left behind are unique characteristics of his work. In fact, they appear unconsciously but are rooted  - those basic structures that are concealed in him and affect his creation. Moreover, The Chileans name their country "pais de poetas" – Land of the Poets. Therefore, it isn't surprising that Velnzuela chose to collaborate with the poet and writer Hernen Lopez, also of Chilean origins. The poems were written in Spanish and translated to English. Bonding painting with poetry and the double translation, that of Velnzuela and that of Lopez, adds a textual layer to the exhibition.

Indeed, this exhibition lays in the intercultural gap between Israel and Chile which is fundamental to Valenzuela's work. As an artist, Valenzuela was educated on the values of the classic European painting in which each painting is built on multiple layers of paint. However, he indicates that the Israeli life style does not match this technique. Hence, some of the paintings went through the entire process while others reveal a primary sketch or base color. As a result, the observer is exposed to artist's work procedure and thoughts, and a time dimension is added to the viewing experience. This is an Israeli time, pressing and stressful, unlike the Latin American time which is long-lasting and slow. Actually, Valenzuela invites the viewer to approach his paintings patiently, to pay attention to the small details, the hidden and the visible ones. To look at the decorations on the ceramics, the hung Hamsa, the South American carpet, to gaze into the figures eyes, to feel the rays of sun penetration the canvas. And to ask, who is the one observing the Israeli reality? is it Gustavo, or maybe Bar? And how does it really matter?

Noa Avron

location - Montefiore Auction House and Gallery
גורדון 36 תל אביב

Time - 09/01/2014 to - 31/01/2014

Exhibition opening - 09/01/2014

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