Alma Itzhaky | Temporary Relocation | The Bronner Residency

Curator: Orit Bulgaru

Alma Itzhaky’s figures are rooted in the Israeli social and political reality. She depicts fictional ordinary situations, which are “animated” by a figurative, expressively tactile painting style. This is particularly notable in the group of works “Glaring,” in which faces offer themselves up to the viewer’s gaze while staring back defiantly. By frontally facing the viewers they involve them as collaborators and witnesses, as is evident in the painting Gaza War Prisoners. The act of viewing is at the heart of the scene depicted in Thinking About the Government, painted during Itzhaky’s residency in Düsseldorf. A group of viewers, presented on some kind of stage, is watching Benjamin Netanyahu giving a speech on TV. The eagles traced in the carpet are a reference to Ingres’ Napoleon I (1806), pointing to the authoritative aspect of the ruler’s portrait. Consisting of the most personal identifying features, the face carries an ethical imperative to meet the Other. Here, the encounter is informed by ambivalence – between the inherent distance of TV representation and the proximity of the viewer looking at it. In Itzhaky’s other paintings, too, the face appears to be a theatrical mask that conceals more than it reveals, thereby calling on us to immerse ourselves in it.

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