The inspiration for Etamar Beglikter’s current exhibition, "The Messenger", is his relative, Yoni Max Mano, who committed suicide nearly half a year ago on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv. During the last period of his life, “Angel” or “Mala”, as referred to by his friends, lived and worked on Allenby Street. He encountered marginal groups of society- the homeless, beggars and the neglected and would help them by offering them food, a night’s sleep at his home and even money. Without warning Yoni ended his life and shot himself in the middle of the busy street. This tragic event, impossible to rationalize, is the motivation for Beglikter’s series of work that seeks to deal with and understand the enigma of suicide described by Albert Camus, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.[…][1] Dying voluntarily means that you have recognized, even instinctively, the ridiculous character of that habit, the absence of any profound reason for living, the insane character of that daily agitation, and the uselessness of suffering[2].”

Death in general and specifically suicide are a disruption in routine life. As such, they raise painful questions concerning the meaning of life, and the point of sustaining life. The act of suicide is a defiance of convention and social norms. It can be said that Etamar Beglikter’s works are a type of “suicide”. They defy artistic norms by presenting us with unpredictable points of view about what is considered suitable and proper in art. Etamar’s defiance of culture is expressed in two areas: the first area is the area of transformation- Beglikter takes an object from one field, as in the case of the Hebrew Encyclopedia, and presents it in another framework as representing  death. Beglikter applies the same method to additional objects and materials, such as vases and tar, considered simple and rough but are thereby transformed by the artist.

 “An Angel Collects the Abandoned” comments on the absurdity of suicide. Beglikter’s dilemma was to either remain silent like Wittgenstein[3] or as an artist to reflect through artistic objects, on display in this exhibition, upon Yoni’s decision to fully follow his feelings. In order to meet his goal, Etamar Beglikter displays four series of work that echo feelings of death and hint to Western traditions which view death and cessation as an insoluble experience. In this context, one prominent piece, a silhouette of Yoni, is reminiscent of Christian icons meant to immortalize and commemorate a historical figure. We should similarly treat the series of cypress trees that hint towards the cypresses planted in most cemeteries in Israel and the cements vases covered in tar that remind us of archetypes of ancient burial vases. These symbols are reinforced by torn and burnt pages of the Hebrew Encyclopedia, specifically Volume 32, which signifies the amount of years Yoni lived.

Etamar Beglikter, a graduate of Ceramic Design and Bezalel’s Experimental Design master program, establishes a new language in the mythologization of death. He touches on tragedy, cessation and desire. The presence of suicide in the cement vases, in the burnt encyclopedia pages, in the series of cypresses, in the tar works and above all- in the silhouettes of Yoni- create among viewers a drama of lamentation, eulogy and a prayer for the deceased.

 

Beglikter ©

 

 


 

[1] Camus, Albert,  “Absurdity and Suicide”, The Myth of Sisyphus, p.3

 

[2] Camus, Albert, “Absurdity and Suicide” The Myth of Sisyphus, pp.4-5

 

[3] Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

The Messenger

Text: Dr. Ben Baruch Blich

Artist's house, Tel-Aviv 2009

Curators: Yona Fischer and Arie Berkowitz 

Publications > Exhibiton texts > The Messenger