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Installation: Metal, water, Mayler Balloons, Iron on .
Hila Laser Beja's solo exhibition "Harvest Moon" comprises an installation of a central sculpture, a wall drawing and a video work.
" Full moon of autumn -
Turning the pool,
And the night passed "
The term "Harvest Moon," apparently rooted in Native American culture, refers to the appearance of the full moon at the beginning of the fall season, often at the same time as the equinox, during which night and day are about equal length. The harvest moon, which coincides with the peak of the crops, enabled Native American workers to stay in the field at night, thanks to its bright moonlight.
The full moon in Matsuo Bashō's Haiku marks the autumn period, and invites the readers to imagine the perfect spherical shape, overlooking the pool or serving as backdrop for the writer's night wandering. You can almost draw a picture of a huge flashlight's reflection in the water, alluding to the tale of the Men of Chelm who tried to capture the star in a barrel.
"Clouds here, there
Bring to rest
The full moon "
The crescent is so bewitching that it enables thoughts to sail far beyond any literal place and time. It carries the viewer into an abstract, incomprehensible, primordial existence. It shatters geographical borders and ties all solid ground space to the abyss above, an abyss which has no beginning and no end. Then the arrival of clouds blocks the viewer's reflection, disrupts his engulfment, and brings him back to reality. There is thus a balance between wayfaring thoughts and the viewer's real circumstances.
The sculpture that centers the exhibition space marks the boundaries of a pool or pond, outlining what seems to be the metal sketch of a house. This is a simple, generic house shape, common in children's drawings. For several years Laser Beja has been circling this image: a fragmentary and unstable structure, not suitable for occupancy. By using rebar, commonly used at construction sites to strengthen poured concrete floors and stairs, the artist made the sketch resemble a wheat field or a canebrake.
Laser Beja's childhood was spent in construction sites and around workers welding and casting, so she is well-rooted in the material and conceptual modes of the house. But it seems that her sculpture refuses to domesticate; it almost stabs the observer, like a hedgehog that has hardened its spikes. The metal is pointing up, competing with the height of those who wander around it. Exposed and sharp lines sketch a drawing in space, jutting from the ground in an effort to soar beyond their typical fate, a cement burial. Above them, a layer of silver Mylar balloons is moving slowly, round and soft as feather clouds, shining a sparkle of promise. The distance between these siblings is not great; rigid metal almost touches the soft Mylar; reality tries to shatter the faux appearance; menial work threatens a desired ideal.
The use of balloons may remind one of artworks by the conceptual artists Philip Parreno or Martin Creed, but they mainly relate to the stainless steel sculptures of post-pop artist Jeff Koons, whose balloon-shaped dog and rabbit characters and other silvery pieces became million-dollar brands. Koons's international success is based, among other things, on his work's seeming nonchalance, with its perfect finishes, as if a human hand hasn't touched them--nothing like the welding labor dominant in the arte-povera style ethos that dominated Israeli art for many years. Beja's work can be read as a manifestation of the gap between HERE and THERE, of being rooted in place yet hoping for grabs, of trying to close the distance. Silver clouds are reflected in the shallows of the basin, merging the impossible with reality
Sagi Refael, curator
Artist featured by Saatchi Art in a collection
Handpicked to show at The Other Art Fair presented by Saatchi Art in London