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Opening: Friday, July 12 at 12:00pm 

Working in different media and materials, Tal Engelstein (*1989, Haifa; lives and works in Tel Aviv-Yafo) creates works that explore extreme physical and mental spaces. His installations are always in a process of transformation – from solid to liquid, from alive to dead, from awake to asleep. For Engelstein, the artwork is “an event which encapsulates anomaly.” Both the creation of the work and the encounter of the work with the audience represent a deviation from a normal scenario. In the past, he turned his feces into a psychedelic drug, built a pirate cellular tower to hack passerby phones, and smuggled liposuction fat from Bangkok in order to produce the smell of burnt flesh. First, the artist defines – conceptually and emotionally – the premises of his creations, “the borders of the world in which they exist.” Afterward, he ‘migrates’ into that world, which is foreign to his daily life. At the final stage, the work is realized and erupts again within the physical world.

His solo exhibition at CCA Tel Aviv-Yafo transpires between two spaces, one public and one private. The first is the Center’s First Floor Gallery and the second is an apartment located just across the street from the Center, both adjacent to the Carmel Market. The work at CCA functions as an invitation to the second site. The apartment – in which the artist has resided while making the work – features two main elements: human voices transmitted live from sound recorders, and smells channeled to the space through pipes that connect to the chimneys of food stalls and restaurants in the nearby market. This action transforms the apartment into a kind of stomach, digesting and echoing its surroundings and the feelings shared by people within the same space. Emanating through the pipes, the smells penetrate the apartment through holes in the walls; placed inside the holes are Israeli coins that rotate like vanes. Distorted human voices can also be heard from those same hole-openings so that each smell overlaps with a different sound, as representing the breath of the transmitted voice.

According to Engelstein, “this work is bound to the sounds and smells coming in real-time from the places it parasitizes, and sets to process them and to give them shape as they transpire. It traces how smells and sounds leak into our consciousness without context.”

Through this project, Engelstein expands the notions of time and site-specificity – here to be understood as an art center located near a food market. He underscores the limitations of exhibition spaces and proposes that the physical space in which art happens can become – in fact, can be – art itself.

“Tal Engelstein: Epsilon” is curated by Nicola Trezzi and is supported by Mifal HaPais – Council for the Culture and Arts. Additional support provided by Sharon Golan.

Tal Engelstein: Epsilon

August 31, 2024

July 12, 2024

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