Call My Name
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Call My Name / Tal Yerushalmi
I watched the fantasy film The NeverEnding Story innumerable times. The protagonist is a boy who fights against The Nothing, a dark, abstract force threatening to overtake a dream world called Fantasia. The only way the boy might save this world is with his heart's wishes: the more he will enunciate new dreams, the more he will endow them with a name and form, Fantasia will continue expanding and will defeat The Nothing.
Sometimes I think that the act of painting is a way of enunciating my heart's wishes, a way of naming them. Any image I will endow with form will come into existence; any color I will lay on the canvas will become a creation that will save the painting, the earth and the world, from The Nothing that seeks to annihilate them. All that is required is for the image to be new, to present an invention and express my heart's wish.
I light a flame in the dark of The Nothing. What will I see in its light? Who is asking me to call it by its name? Is it a dove, a spider or a flower? Is it a rock, a necklace, a knife or a rope? Soil, water, the Judean Desert, the State of Israel? Anything that I will wish for, big or small, will be there; anything I will imagine and paint will come into existence and will be present in the painting.
But The Nothing refuses to yield. It has its cunning ways of sneaking back in, to prove to me that this is only an illusion, that no matter how many shapes or colors, animals or objects, countries or universes I will create – they will not be real. They are mere paintings. The three-dimensional rock that I chiseled in matter and paint is completely flat. The scythe threatening to harvest the objects in the painting is an empty space. A ghost of a scythe. The taut leather is only paper. The star lighting the skies of the Judean Desert is The Nothing incarnate. Everything is falling apart: the painting, the desert, the sky, place and time.
I do not let go. Maybe if I cut the objects out of the paintings they will become things in the real world: hanging, laid down, present. I cut out a drawn rope and place it in space. I paint a match so I may rekindle the fire. I burn a painting, and make a real hole in it. You can pass your finger through it.
But everything collapses once more. The magic of the art of painting is lost, the illusion gone: the rope looks like a snake's slough, the net becomes a shell; the painting is riddled with burnt holes. What will I do with a burnt painting?
A line emerges from the burnt hole. Who is it? A snake? Are you sure that I called your name? The snake crawls toward the burnt holes, swallowing them one by one. Perhaps the snake was hungry and came over to eat a few eggs. I can paint a bird that will lay a few fresh eggs instead of the ones devoured. Perhaps this time a snake will not appear, maybe I will not light another fire. I will draw water just to be on the safe side.
With a heart and brush I will return to yet another round in this lost battle.
I paint a bird.
* The film The NeverEnding Story is a cinematic adaptation of Michael Ende's German fantasy novel produced in 1984 and directed by Wolfgang Peterson.
Copyediting and translation: Orr Scharf
1978 Born In Netanya, Israel
2004-2006 MFA in Fine Art, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem
2001-2004 BFA (with honors), Bezalel, Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem
2000-2001 Fine Art, Hamidrasha School of Art, Beit Berl College
2000 Fine Art Studies, School of Visual Arts, New York
2019 Call My Name, Maya Gallery, Tel Aviv
2018 Neither Day nor Night, Artists House, Jerusalem
2017 Sand in the Eye, Hezi Cohen Gallery, Tel Aviv
2013 Ruach Ruach (Jointly with Orr Hertz), Barbur Gallery, Jerusalem, Israel
2011 New Paintings, Kiriat Tiv'on Gallery
2008 Har Manoah, Janco Dada Museum, Ein Hod, Israel Massada and Gravestone, Tavi Dresdner Gallery, Tel Aviv
2007 Blow Wind, Artists' House, Tel Aviv
2019 Ministry of culture awards exhibition, Ashdod museum
No Body No Land No Blood No Country, Bar David Museum, Kibbutz Bar Am
2018 Up to the First Touch, Atelier Shemi, Kibbutz Kabri
2017 Dynamism, Idris Gallery, Tel Aviv
2016 Take Painting, Petah Tikva Museum
Sticks and Stones, Braverman Gallery
2015 Within Reach, Ashdod Museum, Israel
Local Pulse – Mix and Match, Artists' House, Tel Aviv, Israel
Beuys, Beuys, Beuys, Binyamini Center, Tel Aviv, Israel
2012 Open Gallery on buildings, Tel Aviv, Israel
Random, BAAD gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
2010 In Between, Ashdod Museum, Israel
Face to Face, Beit Michal, Rehovot, Israel
2008 Neues Sehen, Young Israeli artists, Syker Vorwerk, Bremen, Germany
Fresh Paint Art Fair
2007 Alon Segev Gallery, Tel Aviv
Artic 9, Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv
2006 Goods to Declare, MFA International, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design Graduates Exhibition, Terminal 1, Ben Gurion Airport
2005 Lost in translation, the 9th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey
New faces, Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
Would I Lie to You, Baby?, jointly with the Glasgo School of Art,
2019-20 Residency at Bezalel MFA Teaching
2016- Lecturer at the Multidisciplinary Art School, Shenkar Academy, Israel
2010- Teacher at Thelma Yellin School of Art
2007-2009 Artist-Teacher Project at Ironi Zain, Jaffa
Scholarships and Awards
2018 Ministry of Culture Creative Encouragement Award
2016 Lottery Council for Arts Support for production of a catalog
2008 Lottery Council for Arts Support for production of an exhibition
2007-2009 Ministry of Culture Artist-Teacher Scholarship
2006 America-Israel Foundation Scholarship
2005 Rich Foundation Scholarship
2018 Baskets Diary, Artist Book
Bar Yerushalmi, Artist Book Text,On Rocks and Treads
Tali Ben Nun, Neither Day nor Night, Exhibition text
Shaul Setter, Haaretz, Review on Sand in the Eye
Iris Mendel, Erev Rav, Review on Sand in the Eye
2016 Sagi Refael, Erev Rav, Review on Take Painting
Iris Mendel, Within Reach, Exhibition text Ashdod Museum
2010 Chen Lev, Haifa Time, Review on New Paintings
2008 Liav Mizrahi, Neues Sehen Exhibition Catalog
Yoram Marek Reich, Yediot Haifa, Review on Har Manoah
Dudu Bareket, Achbar Haifa, Review on Har Manoah
2007 Orly Hoffman, Blow Wind, Exhibition Text
2005 Smadar Shefi, Haaretz, Review on New Faces
Joseph Krispel, Time out Tel Aviv, Review on New Faces
Irena Gordon, Time out Tel Aviv, Review on New Faces