House & Garden

Solo Exhibition, The Janco-Dada Museum, Ein Hod, Israel

House & Garden, the current project by artist Keren Anavy, emerged out of a previous exhibition, Southern Rose held at the Municipal Art Gallery in Rehovot in 2013–2014. The paper cutouts from which it was made were taken apart, reworked and put together again in a new setting, as to express a new idea. Southern Rose featured a virtual paper cathedral hanging as it were by a thread, in constant danger of collapsing. In Anavy’s current show at The Janco-Dada Museum, the disjoined elements of this former cathedral are brought together to create a diminished virtual house of intimate proportions, whose paper windows and low ceiling overlook an exterior world of nature and fantasy. Entirely made of paper cutouts and wood carvings, the house recalls lace patterns of ethereal, immaterial quality, resonating with an eerie sense fleeting enchantment. The abstract forms seen on the paper ceiling, especially made for the present show, as on the windows, draw on organic motifs.

Three main aspects mark House & Garden. First, the void and absence inherent in the nature of perforated paper cutouts and, second, the sheer whiteness characteristic of paper. The color white connotes eternity and infinity; it encompasses the whole spectrum of colors, and is muted and subdued. These two aspects highlight a third characteristic evident in the show, namely the sheer beauty of its pristine, hollowed out paper elements whose captivating intricacy invite repeated viewing. The perplexing space occupied by the house raises questions on images and their representational capacity.

It is in these three elements that Anavy creates her virtual house, utilizing paper cut-outs for its hollowed ceiling, as for the windows that seem to overlook a nowhere place. A mashrabiya-like pattern, hanging on the entrance wall, makes for a front door to this virtual, feather-light house that is replete with void and bright whiteness. “At what moment does a house stop being a house? When the roof is taken off? When the windows are removed? When the walls are knocked down? At what moment does it become a pile of rubble?”[1] Echoing such inquiries, House & Garden raises questions on locality and the longing for unknown and imagined territory.

Ora Kraus, curator

[1] Paul Auster, The Invention of Solitude (New York: Penguin, 1982), p. 22.