Doppelgänger – exhibition





Free Entrance

Exhibition opening of Jessica Sharon, accompanied by a performance

For more details about the performance and to order tickets

An exhibition that deals with the civil-military dictatorship in Argentina in the years 1976-1983 and invites the viewer to examine the manipulation of historical memory and artistic representation, and at the same time seeks to echo the contemporary social and political reality.

Curator: Gilad Ophir
Exhibition opening: 5.8.24
On display until 5.9.24

“Un libro que no contiene su antilibro se considera incompleto.”
“A book that does not contain its anti-book is considered incomplete.”
Jorge Luis Borges

Jessica Sharon was born in Argentina and has lived in Israel for 22 years. We met at the art department in Bezalel, where I am a teacher and tutor. Sharon had just arrived from Argentina, so we spoke some Hebrew, English, and Spanish that I was trying to practice back then and had forgotten since. That was years ago, but our meetings and discussions are not forgotten; they are still with us. Sharon has always impressed me with her ability to combine painting’s immediate, seductive properties with the infectious tensions between the poetic and the political. She still does. From topical culture to the everyday, from an image in a newspaper that catches her eye to the ever-following memories of Argentinian times of dictatorship. Her alarming posts also point out Israel’s deterioration towards Fascism and dictatorship. And always painting, small paintings like jewelry, almost, but with the weighty presence of the cruelty of men. Women and men abducted and tortured by a menacing regime pop up in her paintings, sometimes in close vicinity to paintings of strange landscapes. But you can never trust landscapes, for they might harbor skeletons of people thrown at night from airplanes to their horrific deaths and disappearances. Growing up in that dark period, Sharon experienced the disappearance of people and friends at different times. Women’s fate under tormentors’ hands always occupied her life, artwork, and social activism.

Another aspect that premeditated Sharom’s work, which appeared and dominated her previous exhibition at Abraham Hostel in 2019, was the use of “the female body as a form of propaganda. Media uses women as a tool to establish a patriarchal culture that aims to preserve men’s position in society as dominant and strong and woman’s place as passive and weak.” In the exhibition text, Sharon is quoted: “In the 80’s and 90’s, we would watch prime-time TV shows that portrayed women as sexual objects. Objectifying was a form of entertainment. The female characters were somehow always involved in violence or eroticism and sex…”.

When I think about the relationship between Sharon’s art and the multifaceted issues and objects that fill her work, I am engulfed by her boundless visual appetite, which makes her one of the most prolific artists I know.

Jessica’s unique perspective on time, which she describes as a constant duality, is a recurring theme in her work. This perspective allows her to craft narratives that give her the power to shape her story’s continuation and end.

The exhibition, constructed on the simultaneity of happenings, can be viewed as a laboratory where the dynamism of processes of change, light, and matter are part of the alchemical process of creation.
Yuval, her spouse, brings glasses from the laboratory of his place of work, and she draws and paints on them. Yet, a machine Sharon has constructed then breaks the glass – a significant event laden with multiple interpretations from artistic and philosophical perspectives. Breaking the glasses is a venue to create new art; it could be seen as incorporating chance elements and exploring it as the artist’s role. It could also be interpreted as a transformation rather than a destruction. This aspect of Sharon’s work can be examined through deconstructionist theory, which questions the stability of meaning and the conceptual notion of completeness of artworks. Another significant action she often employs is erasing, repainting, and applying dirt. She considers these actions part of the material change in the (alchemical) laboratory. But there are also underlying, somewhat latent currents in Sharon’s work that stem from her memories during the Junta regime in Argentina, the Guerra Sucia – the dirty war and state terrorism. Here, her application of dirt has a multilayered signification.

The exhibition displays different practices of making sculptures, objects, and paintings that Sharon developed. We encounter small works meant to be viewed from both sides: the color surface, which represents the superficial and bountiful side of the painting, and the back side, where you can look through the glass onto the first layer of the painting. This layering reveals an underworld full of secrets and fears. The viewer pips into the artist’s subconscious, the mystery of the appearance and disappearance of images, and the duality of paintings that speak for themselves.

Taking the space of the Jaffa Theater as an inner world of mystery, playfulness, and a deep sense of time, Sharon designed various strictures on which her works hang. She invites the viewers to walk the space, access the laboratory on the stage, touch, turn over, and look through while inhaling the unique spatial atmosphere with the fragmentary yet mesmerizing artworks, texts, paintings, and theatricality woven together.

Gilad Ophir
Visual artist and photographer,

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