Yael Kanarek: Notyetness

Notyetness is the third solo exhibition of Yael Kanarek at bitforms gallery. With an art practice that centers on the marriage of language and space, Kanarek studies inner landscapes and its intersection with geopolitical planes. Employing modes of authorship such as storytelling and multilingualism, Kanarek manipulates the biographical predisposition of cultural associations. Her work enters spaces of meaning determined by a global network and the negotiation of identity that occurs when confronted with multiple systems.

As an Israeli-American, Kanarek's perception is tempered with an awareness of post-national borderlines. Notyetness, the exhibition's title, is borrowed from an essay by curator Reem Fadda who uses the term to describe the Palestinian national project. A driving force of action and self-regeneration, notyetness proposes a constant lack and a state of temporal future arrangements in Palestinian/Israeli reality. A break in the period of digress, it is a zone where everything is possible.
It is a patient moment that emerges in spatial metamorphoses and disfiguration.

Playing with temporality, the video work “Jerusalem to Tel Aviv” uses footage shot from the window of a taxi van and synchronizes the clips to an annual clock. Structured to reflect current time, the orderly night landscape along Highway 1 changes subtly – keeping the viewer continuously on the road somewhere between the two cities. Likened to the idea of time travel, Kanarek poses a theoretical beginning in the ancient city, and an ending in one that is modernized and cosmopolitan.

In the exhibition Kanarek also uses the square as a basic metaphor for space. At the surface of these works is a territory that is marked by both Modernism and globalization. “Narratives about the struggle over space are universal,” says Kanarek. “I am interested in psychological spaces of action.”

Probing this universality, the series Nude melds subject and medium. In these squarely formatted linguistic compositions, the meaning of spatial construct becomes loaded with psychological baggage. Using bright blues, green and yellow the words “not yet” in Hebrew and Arabic are organized in the picture plane, describing a collective feeling of mixed emotion. Likewise the word “white” configures the new interpretations of selected modernist icons, such as Josef Albers “Homage to the Square”. Through the shuffling of physical properties that construct our use of language (matter, shape and sound), Kanarek's work examines how verbal signifiers operate emotionally. Also part of the exhibit is an intense look at formal construction of the swastika.

Sensing the body as a creator and destroyer of space, Kanarek tangles her relationship with the viewer by violently cutting a love letter out of the gallery wall. Left in a state of demolition, chunks of text sit in remnants along the floor. An area of negotiation, the gallery walls are marked by the artist in a primal manipulation of territory and relationship. Also visceral, but on a different scale, clay sculptures in the gallery draw upon personal and imaginative gestures. Using vocabularies of jewelry and gaming–Kanarek slices into the clay with gold and silver findings, or inserts her fingers to render the clay into dice.
Bitforms Gallery, New York, Yael Kanarek

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