Etamar Beglikter’s art language has developed over the past few years and is taking shape by perfecting the formative means that typify his work. Industrial material such as black PVC boards are the raw materials that the artist uses to form the series of shapes that represent his world of creativity. The aesthetic cleanliness derived from the trapping, the uniformity, and the precise design of the material serves, with regard to the insights conveyed, as a kind of defiance with a connotation of irony and cynicism.
The opaque boards, with their sense of anonymity, and with the shapes produced from them, represent a local ‘manly’ narrative, which also has implications with regard to the world of contemporary universal concepts. The anonymous image also serves as a kind of generalization that binds within itself elements of a ‘fighting culture’ that is not just representative of the local warrior, but is also the image of the ‘fighter’ prevalent in video games as well as in reality the world over, symbols that are turned into icons among groups of adolescent youngsters. In a power oriented society, the forceful postures of the images create a kind of role model. Their meticulous shaping defines them as somewhat of an archetype, from which numerous parts can be derived by duplication and replication as and when required.
The derived part is an apparent message-loaded element. The image of a soldier bending over his rifle portrays an incident from a ‘shadow theater’ movie. The soldier’s figure, positioned and replicated into a production line, is the duplicated image of the artist’s father, and has been created as a kind of software for future games. The deficiency of the material intensifies the irony and places it in stark contrast to the work’s supposedly ‘heroic’ contents. Thus does the shape of a tank, derived from gathered together crumpled paper blackened with tar, turn into a kind of black ‘insect’. The heavy black threatening object has been metamorphosed into a lightweight form that can easily be thrown up into the air. At a stroke the military image has been eliminated and replaced by that of a destructible element. The objects have been transformed and voided of their symbolism by means of material such as paper, or brittle lightweight Ytong blocks that have been sculpted into ‘artillery shells’. Here, too, the elements have been drawn out of context by the subversion, which seeks by means of material and humor to warn us about the negligible weight of things in the real world. The artist’s ‘face mask’, made of sponge, functions in a like manner; the mask is taken apart and then recreated in a slow process documented in video film. This is an allusion to death masks, whose purpose is to immortalize the memory of important personages.
Beglikter’s previous exhibition ‘Shadows’ paid tribute to a 1920s artist from the Bezalel School of Art and Design – Meir Gur-Aryeh, who described the way of life of the Land of Israel’s halutzim by creating shadows, representing the ‘local theatre’ of reality. The collection of shadows is also reminiscent of children’s fables, except that in this context they are far from simple in intent. Even in the formal sense humor plays its part in the artist’s hands, and the images are constantly changing in size according to their concept. The ‘game’ world in miniature turns into a world of large symbols that gather power with their increase in size. And indeed Beglikter does not hesitate to use quasi-graphic presentations of the occurrences in order to delineate the borders of their domain. The symbolism of the ‘shadow’ dimension alludes to the covert messages with regard to the place of military security factors within the transparent, illuminated reality. Only in a series of small woodcuts does the figure seek to deviate from the shadow, as though claiming a quintessential identity and, in a light endowed with a human dimension, is exposed in finely drawn lines.
Etamar Beglikter’s exhibition is also shown in the space of the Leipzig International Art Programme, as part of a cooperation between the Herzliya Artists Residence and the Leipzig International Art Programme. Etamar, a young artist resident in the town and a graduate of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, has been chosen to represent the young generation of Herzliya artists within the framework of the programmes connected with the recently signed twinning of the two cities.
Translated from the Hebrew by Amos Riesel
Text: Varda Genosar
Herzliya Artists Residence , Herzliya
Curator: Varda Genosar
Crime Scene, 2010