2 Sep — 2 December, 2023
Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. [Psalms 42:7]
The exhibition presents paintings and photographs on bare paper. Adi Bezalel, a photographer, painter, and art therapist, binds two ostensibly competing mediums together, turning things around. She introduces photography, which historically developed from painting, as a point of departure for her painterly practice, using gouache as a sensitive medium for developing still life photographs. Bezalel treats the photographic images as if they were an open wound, healing them through innocent-looking painting.
“Wounded healer” is a key concept in Carl Gustav Jung’s psychoanalytic theory. Its importance lies in the understanding that the therapist heals the patient’s wound through identification and by touching her own wound. Jungian psychologist Ruth Netzer suggests regarding the figure of the artist as that of a wounded healer, maintaining that the work of art—as an active practice and as an object of observation—echoes the wounds of both artist and viewer, enabling healing for both. Psychologist James Hillman refers to wound and healing as one act. Hence, the work of art is both the wound and the healing.
The work of art, as wound and healing, characterizes the link between painting and photography in the featured works. The gouache painting, in its materiality and thickness, echoes photography as a dormant past, awakening it from its distant stasis. The brush’s soft movement breathes life into the object which it seeks to explore and decipher. The act of copying, as a dialectical act, cradles the sharp image captured by the camera. Painting redeems the archetypal memory from its still past—a pile of stones, a dead butterfly, a weathervane, or the gate of a house—immersing it in a fantastical, imaginary, liberating backdrop. In the healing process, painting reinstates photography with its aura: it illuminates it with beams of light, envelops it in a metaphysical spirit, and realizes it in another dimension. The act of healing is revealed as a self-reflexive, “ars-poetic” act. The artist’s desire to heal the formal rift between the mediums is the personal pain of one who is trapped within this splitting wound.
Tal Frenkel Alroy