Dog, 2005, installation
Dina Shenhav constructs a foam forest in the museum's space, simulating trees, soil, bushes, and one dog. She continues to work with her unique material - foam used mainly for mattresses, but unlike previous works where she used it as a surface for painting, here, for the first time, it transforms into a sculptural material and the work's very core.
Shenhav responds to a harsh phenomenon prevalent in the world as a whole and in Israel in particular: dog owners wishing to get rid of their dogs, take them to a remote forest, abandoning them there, tied to a tree with little food and water. In some cases passersby manage to save the dog in time, but in other instances it is too late and the dog cannot be saved. These days a bill is being processed by the Israeli Parliament that would prohibit the abandonment of animals, making the offender criminally liable for the act.
Shenhav's forest is not realistic. Its trees grow from the floor, but they are also suspended from the ceiling by threads which create a web of sorts, as if they were marionettes. The texture and color of the foam remain exposed and faithful to themselves. "The natural color of the material (foam), the visible links, the exposed practice - all these are intended to enhance the sense of 'soft' horror, the theatrical sphere, and the compassion, or rather, its absence," the artist explains. The sight revealed is one of a generic, uniform forest without hierarchy or preferences; a forest closed to the viewer, viewable only from a distance. The entire forest is bathed in the foam's yellow hues, infusing it with an alienating, disconcerting atmosphere and a sense of a forest which seems to have frozen and stopped.