The Graduates: Liat Eitan, 25, Tel Aviv

Institution: Shenkar; work: ‘Based on a True Story.’

Ellie Armon Azoulay
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Ellie Armon Azoulay

Liat Eitan’s final project dealt first and foremost with the concept of “skill,” which had a place of honor before, during and after the Renaissance, but in the wake of modernism became a dirty word in hegemonic discourse. Eitan asked the question: With what tools should a student finish her studies at an academic school of art? Her answer included not only self-exposure and criticism: She also cast an inquisitive glance at her school and teachers, and demanded that they, like the viewer, answer that question and measure the extent of their success in doing so.

Aside from that, Eitan dealt with an equally important aspect of the process of becoming an artist: the possibility of being displayed. She took spectators on a kind of virtual tour, sometimes fictional, through time and various cultures, and by doing so related to relevant means and methods of display.

Eitan created a white, cone-shaped sculpture, with the wide part resting on the floor and with a narrow top part that allowed people to look inside. The inside turned out to be a kind of furnace or kiln cut into rock, with light at the end. Alongside were other works including a sculpture in white plaster, triangular shapes, on which the artist’s prints inspired by Japanese books were spread out. The sculpture was perched on thin metallic table legs, somewhat modernistic. Another, less serious-looki ng work by Eitan was composed of colored gemstones from which black hairs emerged. The abstract form displayed on a white pedestal with a glass bell on it, which also hintde at a glass menagerie seemed to be, alternately, like a mythical animal or an act of magic.

Two sketches on the wall discussed the role of the researcher and ways of studying methodology. Three different screens presented three films in a loop, but in each of them one could see the face of a man from which a clay mask was removed gradually, without revealing the hand of the artist doing it.

Eitan relates to the exhibition as a kind of collection that seeks to connect different works with primeval developments in human history. “The collection did not presume to create scientific or objective truths, but tended more toward a literary expression and to a personal point of view,” she says. “The exhibits were inspired by stories, scientific data and images that contain a certain history, sometimes hidden or marginal. The syntax and the contexts that I wanted to create tried to free themselves from those sources.”

Work by Liat Eitan.Credit: Sigal Saban