Artist: Eyal Ben Simon
Exhibition dates: March 26th - April 30th
Galleria Vuedo, Palrmo, Italy
Compound (linguistics): A word that consists of more than one radical element
Compound (chemistry): A combination of two or more elements
Compound (fortification): A fortified enclosure with defensive structures
Compound (enclosure): A cluster of buildings having a shared purpose, usually inside a fence or wall
This exhibition, named COMPOUND, by artist Eyal Ben-Simon uses diverse spoken and visual languages and techniques: photography, painting, sculpture, video art, text, and more, for looking at conflict in general, and specifically - the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
The exhibition uses this variety of media to convey the state of mind and the sense of being confined within a kind of mental "compound" as experience by parties to a conflict.
Designed as iconic images, the photographs are confined to black, white, and red. Black and white are idiomatic ("In black and white," "Black over white") and stand for simplicity, intensity and contrast. They are considered non-colors and there seems to be no need to spell out the connotation of the RED color and its impact when experienced visually against the black and white background.
The human figures covered with different patterns and textures of cloth can be an orthodox, well-covered Muslim woman or an orthodox Jewish man covered by a prayer shawl. This human figure plays a part in the Video-Art, which is a disturbing image that goes from abstract to concrete and depicts a cycle of actions including breaking and cleaning up. The Sisyphean activity symbolizes the vicious circle endured when living in a conflict.
Utilizing Arabic and Hebrew letters to form images is an old tradition in both Hebrew (Micrography) and Arabic (Arabesque) traditions which banned animate images. The graphemes take part in the video art as well. Written text is also trapped in some of the cement-covered objects - yet another way to use the word Compound as something surrounded by a wall. Cement is also named concrete, which is a substance used for construction and fortification, literally meaning solid and basic.