Nahum Gutman Museum of Art - English מוזיאון נחום גוטמן לאמנות Image Map

Luminol- Ada Ovadia

18.7.2014-8.11.2014

Curator: Monica Lavi

Ada Ovadia's paintings unfold a world of nightmarish adventures in which people, animals, and objects activate one another in closed ecosystems of anger, rage, anxiety, and healing. The images populating her painterly world erupt from a consciousness on the verge of explosion; they split into series of paintings in which new images are generated at a dizzying speed, sucking the viewer into a world in which Hannah Szenes and a paratrooper pig come to the rescue, and crafty rabbits, with rifles in hand, hide in military night camps, awaiting some vague opportunity.

            The title of the show, "Luminol," provides the atmosphere and the psychic and painterly illumination, whereby the viewer may attempt to make his way in the tangle of figures and plots, with no guarantee that deciphering it will bring him closer to the artist's encoded, hermetic world which is rife with imagination and invention, or whether it will be at all congruent with it. The luminol—a luminescent substance used to detect traces of invisible blood in crime scenes due to its tendency to glow when coming into contact with hemoglobin iron—colors Ovadia's painterly scenes, illuminating dark sites in a world constantly swarming with eternal forces of evil which shift from place to place, hide, and change form, leaving tangled, fantastic traces behind.

            Most of Ovadia's paintings transpire in darkness. To see what lies beneath the darkness, one must seek the assistance of night vision devices. Darkness is then colored in green or lit with fire: matches, candles, and flames which might, at a capricious moment's decision, ignite and destroy everything, because there is no telling when the apparently helpful will turn out to be destructive.

            Ovadia is inspired by cinema and by televised documentary crime reconstructions. Her paintings may be regarded as frames, which freeze scenes rife with clues that could shed light on the event, if only we knew how to read them. Crutches, pearl necklaces, naked  Majas, lipsticks, tracer bullets, skeletons, television screens, vases with flowers, decorated plates, faces made from parts of images, overflowing beer foam, donkeys, pierced vases, fire, water, and milk—all these and more are animated and personified in her paintings, generating a narrative thicket at once amusing and scary, cheerful and macabre, cunning and innocent.

            To some extent, Ovadia is a link in the chain reaction she sets in motion in her paintings. She is the medium that receives, processes, and passes on a visual flow of images originating in art, television, and cinema, transmitted by a fidgety, fast and violent culture through screens and monitors that reach into her home: women looking in the mirror, still life, crucifixions, Pietás, body wounds, skulls, rifles, and dynamite sticks. Death is constantly present in all of them, as are suffering and pain, alongside irony, wit, joking and laughter, and horrified grins.

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