, black holes briefly reveal this “nothing,” only to be further erased by the advance of a new attack weapon, in a continuous renewal of the war machine. However, these recurrent gaps allow viewers to glimpse the imprints of a poignant absence, the markers of retreat where regeneration has been stalled and regrowth stunted. Subtly yet persistently, the black wounds of Yitzhak’s digital rugs convey a call for the retraction of power and aggression, summoning the possibility of hope for a better future.
Furthermore, by translating rug weaving into a digital medium and using patterns and sounds that evoke video game aesthetics, Yitzhak directs the mirror toward us as global consumers of war imagery. As media theorist and philosopher Boris Groys notes, we almost never believe the media, except when it comes to covering traumatic stories and catastrophes. Groys argues that people expect the media to deliver these reports, and when it does, it actually reinforces their trust in themselves.6
This confirmation of viewer expectations can make individuals feel that they understand the world, that “they saw it coming,” giving them a sense of control over their lives. Paradoxically, this sense of control becomes addictive, as it helps people feel safer, turning them into consumers of violence. However, as with any addiction, the cumulative effect is one of diminished impact. The visual flood of aggression can make us numb to its real significance. We can enjoy extremely violent video games and allow our children to play at killing each other. In its elaborate aesthetic, Yitzhak’s WarCraft
is eerily mesmerizing and seductive. Even the gun fire and explosion blasts are orchestrated into somewhat rhythmic harmony. But it is not enjoyable, it is disturbing. It draws us in and doesn’t let go, shaking us from our indifference.
Ella Habiba Shohat, “Shvira v’Shiva: Itzuv shel Epistemologiya Mizrachit” (Belford’s translation from Hebrew is “Breakage and Return: Design of Oriental Epistemology”), Eastern Appearance / Mother Tongue: A Present that Stirs in the Thickets of its Arab Past
, ed. Yigal Nizri (Israel: Bavel Press, 2004).
This work was presented at Koffler Gallery in 2015 as part of the exhibition Pardes
. The title of the work is taken from Inbal Perlson’s book by the same name, which follows the political and historical context and circumstances that led the IBA orchestra musicians, decades after they immigrated to Israel, to hold on to the traditional music and language of their countries of origin.
Yitzhak’s translation of the title to English is, “I have no one but you.”
Such as Raad’s The Atlas Group
(1989–2004), Zaatari’s Letter to a Refusing Pilot
(2013), and Toufic’s Over-Sensitivity
(1996), to name a few examples.
Jalal Toufic, The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster
(2009), www.jalaltoufic.com/downloads/Jalal_Toufic,_The_Withdrawal_of_Tradition_Past_a_Surpassing_Disaster.pdf: 57.
Boris Groys, “The Fate of Art in the Age of Terror,” in Concerning War: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art
, eds. Maria Hlavajova and Jill Winder. (Rotterdam: BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and post editions, 2006).
(b. 1975, Israel; lives and works in Tel Aviv) is a graduate of the Naggar School of Photography, Media and New Music (2003); and the Bezalel Program for Advanced Studies in Art (2007). Her multidisciplinary work has been shown at the 6th Asian Biennial, Taiwan; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin; SMBA, Amsterdam; Kuandu Museum, Taipei; the Museum for Islamic Art, Jerusalem; Herzlyia Museum of Contemporary Art; Petach Tikva Museum of Art; Koffler Gallery, Toronto; Circle 1, Berlin; 68 Square Meters, Copenhagen; Jeanine Hofland Gallery, Amsterdam; Edel Assanti Gallery, London; TSR, Miami; the 5th Mediations Biennale, Poznan; Nimac Art Center, Nicosia; SIP Institute for Photography, Tel Aviv; Mana Contemporary, Jersey City; Huashan Culture Park, Taipei; and CCA, Tel Aviv. Yitzhak has won numerous awards and her work is in the collections of the Israel Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem, the Petach Tikva Museum of Art, the Shpilman Institute for Photography, and several others. She is represented by Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC.
is an Israeli-Canadian sound artist, curator and scholar. She is currently a PhD ABD candidate at the department of Art History, University of Toronto, where her research focuses on the curation of sound within the context of modern and contemporary art. She is the recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Doctoral Award (2016-2019); the Scace fellowship (2013-2018); the Faculty of Arts and Science Top (FAST) Doctoral Fellowship (2015-2018); and DIALOG – Scholarship In Honour of Michael Evamy (2014). She is half of the artistic duo Duprass (together with Ido Govrin) and co-owner of the experimental record label Interval Recordings. Her recent curated exhibitions include Image Coming Soon#1
(2015) at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (for which she received an Honorary Mention from the OAAG), Pardes
(2015) at Koffler Gallery, and A Piece for Two Floors and a Corridor
(2015) at the Israeli Center for Digital Art. She is currently preparing Listening to Snow
for the Art Museum (Toronto), a major exhibition on the sound works of artist Michael Snow.
Nevet Yitzhak: WarCraft
is a Primary Exhibition, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. Presented in partnership with Images Festival.
Essay: Liora Belford | Design: Tony Hewer | Editing: Shannon Anderson, Mona Filip
Koffler Gallery installation photos: Toni Hafkenscheid
Digital publication to the exhibition Nevet Yitzhak: WarCraft
Presented by the Koffler Gallery | April 4 – May 26, 2019 | Curator: Mona Filip
© Koffler Centre of the Arts, 2019, in collaboration with the individual contributors. All rights reserved. ISBN 978-1-928175-19-3.