Standard Deviation

Participating artists: Guy Ben-Ner; Aya Ben Ron; Efrat Kedem; Tamir Lichtenberg; Oz Malul; Roy Menachem Markovich; Uriel Miron; Roy Mordechai; Meir Tati; Shai-Lee Uziel

The exhibition “Standard Deviation” presents a range of multilayered perspectives on art making practices within capitalist systems of production and consumption. The works featured in this exhibition all involve some form of deviation from accepted norms of production and consumption. They cast an ironic and questioning gaze upon the logic characteristic of capitalist systems, while expressing a certain degree of acceptance concerning the hegemonic power of these systems.

For contemporary artists, the preoccupation with artistic production processes has become an inseparable part of any creative practice. Artists have become “workers” laboring to realize their works; they are required to market themselves based on their ability to identify changing fashions, and on their willingness to sell their works as products. These changes have led to a new emphasis on the economic value of the art work, which overshadows its intellectual or emotional importance. As a result, artists have come to experience an inner conflict – reflected in many of the works in the exhibition – concerning the “authenticity” of their works.

The artists participating in the exhibition produce their works by borrowing the aesthetic conventions characteristic of capitalist systems. They overcome the difficult process of raising funds by using various types of ready-mades – preexisting objects or environments that serve as cinematic sets, and shed an ironic and critical light on the affinity between the art world and capitalism. The choice of materials used in these art works is reflective of an impoverished, improvised and ephemeral local aesthetic. At the same time, it is influenced by the anonymous materials produced in excess by the global economy.

Some of these works draw a parallel between the human body and industrial machines, which also reflect creative processes. Other works reveal a preoccupation with the artistic race for success, the obsession to sell and exhibit and the fear of failure. Western-style capitalism, as reflected in the exhibition, is a system that is at once comforting and restrictive: it caters to fantasies of home and family, easy economic gains, body building, self-improvement and eternal youth. Together, these fantasies offer the illusion of a safe haven, which dulls the threat of detachment and ephemerality.

The works included in the exhibition are thus concerned with systems that reflect processes of producing both actual objects and ideas, and which unfold within a closed circuit that cannot be ruptured. The relationship between the effort involved in production and the final result leads to a discussion of art making under capitalism, and to an ironic perception of the pursuit of perfection, functionality and efficiency. Although some of these works were created before the current economic crisis, they bespeak a near-prophetic awareness of the capitalistic system’s fragile existence.

Curator: Maayan Shelef

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