And the Wind Returneth

2006

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DinaShenhav |  AND THE WIND RETURNTH 

 In the sculpture and video installation "And the Wind Returneth," Dina Shenhav continues to engage with surreal, apocalyptic landscapes of the kind she created in City (1997) – a work that resembled the archeological vestiges of a destroyed metropolis. In the work exhibited here, the artist chose to disrupt the appearance of a desert landscape circumscribed within the museum space. Composed of mountains and valleys, this charred, scarred primordial landscape of cliffs and blackened craters seems to have suffered a fire, or to have undergone a nuclear mutation The scene is devoid of human presence or of any other signs of life, aside from a water reservoir and small pools of water gathered in the ravines among the cliffs; these pools intermittently reflect the sky, which flashes momentarily before disappearing back into the dark. The soundtrack in the background bursts forth in the dark, and is silenced by the appearance of clouds. The black surface and the thick black liquid that seems to have coagulated in the valleys amplify the threatening sensation. The appearance of the clouded sky bespeaks the cyclical rhythms of nature, and perhaps also a sense of hope. Nevertheless, this vision is experienced as a fata morgana, an illusion of life or of disaster.

 

In earlier works by Shenhav – such as the sponge-based mosaic in Game Over (2000), or the sponge forest in Dog (2006) – the materials were charged with a specific meaning. Here, by contrast, the material is camouflaged by the shiny black surface, which spreads out like a membrane over the sculpted mass of paper mâché. The observation of this work sucks the viewer into a time capsule, which compresses together a primeval past with a dystopia marking the end of days

Tami Katz-freiman