Transparent Channels, 2001
LBLux S.A., Luxemburg
Essay: Yoav Dagon
The photographs of Dorit Feldman’s new works line the floor of my room; they are laid out on the unmade bed, and I observe them, time and again, absorbed therein and into the experiential world they evoke. The photographs conjure up the sights in the studio, the intensity of their presence in the Friday afternoon sun whose rays tap on the windows in the west, the thrills one wishes to suppress. The clues they emanate offer me two paths; words fuse into sentences, which I construct and deconstruct in some inner struggle between the rational, distant, scientific side and the emotional, revealing one.
My immediate urge in view of these works was to listen once again to the sounds of Hariprasad Chaurasia’s Bansuri (bamboo) flute. That Indian music, whose sounds and aromas are so addictive, is tantamount to the rhythm of human breathing, cosmic breathing. It spans both silence and storm, as well as all the nuances emerging in-between these poles. At times it sobs and moans, at others – sighs like lovers. It invokes a spiritual experience, alluding to the secret of the elements, of beginnings, of the first vibration that breaks the casing of the seed before an entity bursts forth in a spiral motion.
Such anticipation, the introverted intensity of that eruption, is found in Dorit Feldman’s works that fill the room with their enigmatic presence. They imbed the qualities of that tune, striving to resonate in the frequencies of the universe. They incorporate whirlpools of color and form that lure me inward, as if I were experiencing a slow, infinite fall in a dream colored with blue hues that inspire calmness and elicit spiritual transcendence.
The works draw you in, and you dive silently, casting off all forces of gravity; taking a dive whereby all noises are assimilated into the faint sizzle of enveloping, embracing waters. (A flash of though brings back one piece from the range of works arrayed in my imagination, and I reconstruct the jump into the water, the intensity of the body’s penetration into that other texture, the coldness of that first contact, white reflections of light orbs make the water surface tremble, and then, all at once, enwrap the body as a primordial womb – the source of all life. And the intensity of the visual experience makes me feel as though I myself were diving in those waters).
The cold corners of the metal, the geometric forms cut out by laser, the rationalistic symbols, urge me to revert to the rational from time to time. To link between the emotional and the spiritual worlds (the brain images cast in the metal prompt me in that direction). I go back to my long conversations with Dorit; words such as consciousness, code language, spheres, and cosmic energy echo and strike me from within, a whole world of given signs that I am trying to forget. A phrase from Taoist Philosophy associatively comes to mind: “Words were meant to convey an idea, and once that idea is conveyed, forget the words. Bring me a man, says the Chinese sage, who has forgotten the words, so I can have a word with him.” These paintings that fill the room with their being “have forgotten the words.”
The DNA images floating forth from the colorful array, which is at once rich and restrained, evoke in me thoughts of spirals from another realm; they lead me to a primeval mythological world, where out of chaos man creates his cultural living spaces, where he sustains the opposition between order, law, and science on one hand, and the imperceptible and unattainable on the other. In the background I can hear the voice (and way)* of the masks. Malian Dogon masks dance before my very eyes, performing a religious ritual, delineating the stage with circular gestures, marking the four wings of the wind. The two-dimensional signs of energy re-surface, the zigzag as the course of water, as the route of those accompanying the dead on their way to the other world, which is but a reflection of our own world.
The work’s inner paths lead me in circular routes to the hidden roads where color eruptions, thrills, and momentary chaos transpire, like the chaos created by the body swallowed by the water; trembling, quivering, as if touching upon the silent song of the cosmos. Man as a thread linking between the earthly sphere where the Tree of Life is rooted, and the Heavenly sphere whereto its foliage rises.
Dorit Feldman takes me back to the familiar boundaries of logic through structures originating in science and knowledge, but I choose – and my choice overwhelms me for a brief moment – those that guide me into the depths of emotional mysteries, those that prompt me to examine personal experiences, to find myself. Like a nomad wandering between the threatening facades of glass towers, looking through a colorful kaleidoscope of shapes and shades at a world that offers infinite options for thrilling discoveries – a journey amidst words that have forgotten the word – for some other truth.
Former Director and Chief Curator, Nahum Gutman Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
Former Director and Chief Curator, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art