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Transmutation, 1997

Cultural Community Center, K. Tivon, Israel

Essay: Yifat Ben-Natan


Dorit Feldman stands at the meeting point between two axes in time. On the longitudinal axis she moves over time in the spiritual planes, whereas on the lateral axis  she constantly wanders across cultures. From the remote past and the most ancient of cultures toward an unknown future and a technological capacity beyond  imagination. Along the way she marks a vertical line – across time, and a horizontal line – across cultures, rendering a metaphorical cross in which an equal space in given to both matter and spirit.
Her world is of the broad scope comprising symbols and shapes, signs and letters, through which she explores the whereabouts of human knowledge as well as its sources; the power of the shape, wherefrom it derives its intensity and the secrets it conceals; likewise, she examines the seemingly obvious links between signs of different cultures and eras, and the origins of this similarity.
Codes awaiting to be deciphered, and the hidden forces embedded within them, are Dorit Feldman’s motivating power in her consistent, tenacious attempt to comprehend the secrets of creation. Simultaneously, she explores the infinite movement – in waves, circles, or spirals – which is the driving force within the cosmic space.
Within the restricted  format of the work there is an occurrence; it begins with a dot, thence it bursts forth into the third dimension in space, and the present concealed fourth dimension which the viewer experiences through his/her most hidden senses.
Within the wide spectrum of images employed by Feldman, there are formal codes from various cultures which have developed ways to gather knowledge, simplify and minimize it, but at the same time contain the maximum. Kabbalistic arrangements, basic shapes, trigrams of the Chinese I Ching or Maya matrices on the one hand; computer chips, DNA molecules and code signs with futuristic orientation on the other – all serve as powerful “containers of knowledge”, like clay in the potter’s hand.
Feldman combines, deconstructs and reconstructs, compares and focuses them, using her ability to move freely in time and space, like another system force which can destroy and create, and thus contribute to a deeper understanding of the essence of life and the universe.
Notwithstanding, Dorit Feldman operates as an artist, and her route passes through the material and is assimilated within it. The work stems from  a recognition of the great importance of matter along the path towards understanding the spirit, while utilizing the legitimization given to her as an artist to work with the material; thus, she also lets herself flow with the color and material, and provide the viewer with the gratifying and unmediated experience inherent in the sensual combination. Through this masterful preoccupation with the material and the generation of powerful energetic tensions between materials, colors and shapes, together with the seemingly unsolvable riddles she poses to the viewer, she opens a gate to the knowledge ingrained in him/her by the very fact of being a human being, of belonging to a culture. She allows the viewers to operate their senses and the forces within them so as to mount a ladder, which rises until the point where matter becomes a form, containing forces from another dimension.
In the current exhibition, Dorit Feldman focuses on the theme of the gate, which serves as a symbol and metaphor for processes of change and transformation; a process of dissociation from the chains of matter and association with the dimensions beyond time. The gate signifies the border marked by the present in a two  way orientation toward the future and back into the past.
In the ancient burial site Beit Shearim (House of Gates) Dorit Feldman found a crossroads, where many of her own ideas and questions are expressed. The  name and essence of the place serve her as a point of representation for the legacy of the past; a focal point from which she can extend questions and wonders.
In this work she examines the concept of the gate, exploring the essence and power of the written word and pointing out the circular nature of time, in view of the fact that the site was built at the beginning of the first millennium, and that now, toward the end of the second millennium, humanity faces a new era. In addition, the place is charged with a messianic legacy, which at the present enjoys revival. On the other hand, the grave design incorporates the tradition of Hellenistic aesthetics in a cultural amalgamation which returns the artist to the interlinking by which she is so fascinated.
This crossroads is one of many along the route of Dorit Feldman’s journey – a journey in which she endeavors to fathom the secrets of the universe. The basic assumption is, indeed, that the forces stem from the same single truth. The questions she raises concerning the relative meaning of time, the significance of the affinity between signs from different sources, the formal expressions of the forces surrounding Man and which are assimilated within him / her, and the transformation from matter to form to spirit, further motivate her work.

Yifat BenNatan

Curator, Writer


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