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Nuance / 2018 - Ongoing

Nuance / 2018 - Ongoing

A collaboration between Artist Les St. Leon and Photographer/Artist Sigal Ben-David. 

 

Nuance - In French, the word nuance refers to shade, or a subtle difference of tone; it came into common usage as a reference to the blending of colors in 17th-century tapestries. Initially, it was used mostly for aesthetics, but it was soon borrowed to analogize, and then describe the meanings of words. it continued to broaden its use, describing the ambiguous degrees of difference in just about anything. This work aims to explore the role of nuance in an increasingly polarized climate.

My Playground of Others' Memories / 2014 - 2017 

A collaboration between Artist Les St. Leon and Photographer/Artist Sigal Ben-David. 

 

This new body of work entitled ‘My Playground of Others’ Memories’ comprises seven color photographs shot in medium format. In this new series, created in 2014-2017, we continue to explore the use of narratives for the construction of past events and attribution of meaning, the role of memory in the interpretation and reconstruction of history, and their effect on personal identity, and the political landscape.

 

In creating this new body of work, we drew inspiration from ordinary objects people collect, such as artificial flowers, porcelain dolls, vintage tools, yarmulkes. Seeking to articulate the nuances of relations embedded in the relationship between the inanimate objects that surround us, that we collect and use in our daily lives and their role in forming our memories, while experimenting with texture, pattern, substance, and arrangements, through which we generate a dialogue between photography and FineArt, conceptual rigor and playfulness, representation and abstraction.

 

By composite, and manipulated images of trivial objects De-familiarized of their functional properties and removed from their larger schemes of meaning, we explore objects as containing a profusion of meanings, while confronting with the abstract aesthetic structures that underlie the natural and artificial environments. Rather than creating a traditional storyline or narrative, this work reveals intricate and enigmatic mise-en-scènes that prompt personal reflections on memories, and invite the viewers to construct their own narrative.

I Am an Alien / 2017

The immigration process can be told through the use of two parallel narratives. One engages the bureaucratic process, in which a person is identified by an Alien number and generates hundreds of documents. This narrative reduces a person to numbers and facts, cancelling out the complexity of the person and the context in which s/he exists. A second narrative involves a reconstruction of self and identity in the new place. This work, entitled I Am An Alien, reflects on the question of identity, exploring the fraught relationship self, migration and displacement. Integrating  immigration paperwork, a reference to the bureaucratic process.

 

 

This work, which speaks directly to Ben-David's own experience as an immigrant, includes two photographed installations. The first image is composed of immigration documents that have been shredded and stuffed into a travel bag constructed of metal mesh; while in the second image the travel bag transforms into an abstract form. This exploration of the metamorphosis of an immigrant captures the cold doubt as to whether the process of immigration can ever be completed.

Undetermined Landscape / 2010 

This work contemplates the complexity of the animal-human relationship through the practice of displaying preserved animals. Whether we display preserved animals in order to promote a conversation, for research purposes or as hunting trophy, it transforms a living being into a lifeless thing. These defeated animals serve as a mere trace of the anthropocentric paradigm, implying human superiority over all other animals. However, by turning the gaze from the displayed dead animals to the very act of displaying them, Ben-David challenges the anthropocentric vanity, following the profound words of Ecclesiastes: “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 3:19)

 

* No animals were harmed in the making of this work.

Untitled / 2009 

In this new body of work, entitled Untitled, a living space devoid of personal characteristics, which may indicate a monastic way of life, or perhaps provisional residence. Alternatively, the photograph may be seen as a documentation of a gallery space that contained residue of an installation or a sculpture.

 

The second part of her exhibition is a photograph of a jar with dry flowers coated with a delicate crust placed on a table.

 

In addition, Ben David presents two portraits of a man in a posture that resembles a police photograph: one in a frontal view and the other in a profile. The photographs, however, deviate from the police convention: the man's gaze is soft and his body exposed, his face bearded in one picture and shaved in the other.

Ben-David continues to examine the coexistence of opposing forces and elements and the inextricable balance between them. Chance and control, sequence and amputation, decay and embalming, and presence and emptiness are continually in conflict in her work. For Ben-David, these dualities are a metaphor for the transitory nature of life, the uncertainties which are also a complimentary essentials.

Curators (and mentors): David Daniel, Noa Zait

Hotel Room / 2008