White Days: Hila Laiser Beja Solo Exhibition
Hila Laiser Beja in new Solo Exhibition
The title of Hila Laiser-Beja’s new solo exhibition is based on a poem by Leah Goldberg:
"White Days, long as sun rays in the summer.
Tranquility of great loneliness grows across the river.
Windows wide open for a silent blues
Straight and tall bridges between yesterday and tomorrow."
The notion of loneliness is at the center of the poem, and it is this sense that the exhibition aims to show.
In 2018, Laiser-Beja participated in a residency program in Santa Barbara, USA. Every day she encountered homeless people sleeping on the manicured lawns of the groomed city, at the feet of the luxury brand stores. The dissonance between these poles and the sense of estrangement, made her feel close to those homeless people.
Detachment, a sense of fragility and the meaning of 'home' are recurring themes Hila's works deal with in recent years.
Visitors enter the exhibition space without their shoes. This act of removal takes the audience to another space, where there is a separation between indoors and outdoors. Stepping barefoot into another's backyard.
On a synthetic white grass that spans the entire gallery, there are three sculptured figures of human scale. They are not meant to reflect a specific gender or person but rather be "any person."
One figure is covered in packing cardboard, as a protective cover against the cold and rain. Another figure is lying on her back, frosted with concrete, as if fossilized. Wild Ivy climbs on top another figure, as reminiscent of a visit to a forgotten garden with stone sculptures that nature has taken over.
On the wall, there is a charcoal drawing, with a video projected over it. Using headphones, as the viewer wanders around the space and gets closer to the sculptured characters, one can hear texts being read by their creators:
Art historian Gideon Ofrat narrates his text "Alone" about artists who spend most of their time in an isolated studio environment, the poem "Kind of Together" by the poet Agi Mishol, and the poem "From the Window" by Ayelet Avni, a creator that directly references a well-known poem by Haim Nachman Bialik.
The motif of Home surfaces frequently in Laiser-Beja’s work of the last decade in various configurations. The man with no home, the feeling of abandonment, the sense of loneliness from within - all these are anchors of the current exhibition.
Proper Disclosure: The writer of this text has served as a model for one of the characters in the show. They met several times for a few hours where The writer gradually became a sculpted piece. The hours in the studio sharpened the feeling of isolation, the lingering stay at the studio, the artist with oneself, often with no outside visits. Departure time from the studio, according to Ofrat's text, are sometimes made of strange choices: exhibition openings of other artists, rare meeting opportunities with fellow colleagues, and more rare than often, visits by curators and collectors.
These hours, when loneliness is seemingly interrupted, when someone else enters the artist’s creative space, intensifies the loneliness of the artist. Loneliness may be a fountain for creativity, but on the other hand it is tough. We all experience in one way or another a lack of understanding or alienation from the other and, consequently, loneliness.
The arena that Laiser-Beja creates in this site-specific installation that handled various media - video, sound, sculpture, and drawing, with specific treatment to the entrances and exits, the windows, as well as the entire floor. A total transformation takes over the space.
Visitors are invited to move around and listen. The act of listening does not encourage a dialogue between the visitors. We are being called to enter the artist’s white days of silence.
Loneliness is experienced by the representation of body sculptures, the white colors corresponding with the end, death, mourning and absence.
The drawing piece presents a “mind construct”, an attempt to abstractly relate to the intricate mysteries of self-thought, to the platform that carries the being of a person, his or her brain and mind. Laiser-Beja’s complex installation outlines the signs of a person, his silences, his words, his thoughts and his loneliness. A total experience through sound, touch of feet on grass, eyesight, and the artist's image within her field of thought.
Municipal Art Gallery Rishon Lezion: