The Bedrock exhibition got its name from the oldest stratum of earth, the one which, for millions of years, was piled up with layers of human archeology. That is the name of the undersurface, the deepest Tera, which is hidden from the eye, the one that requires time and effort to reach to, that primeval matter, untouched by men.
The processes of unearthing and discovery of that ancient layer is a metaphor for the creative work of the artists Inbar Frim and Moran Kliger. Like a carful archeological digging, the works of these artists are made through meticulous and multi-factored technics where precise actions of cleaning and screening creates images that carries questions of essence and meaning.
On two walls in the gallery, Moran Kliger presents the apes images familiar from her previous works. On one wall five characters are grouped together, their big eyes watching us, as if they were human, staring directly at the camera. A different wall shows an image that is almost out of a family photo album, where a mother is cradling her child. Kliger's drawing is rich with texture and filled with obsessively painted details. Through a long and introspective practice, Kliger gently reveals a feral-human essence: even though fur covers their bodies and they live in trees, the illustrated apes are similar to us; not just in body, but in the deep kinship we see between them. They are entwined, clasping each other while watching us.
The similarity isn't one sided: it seems that with the apes’ direct gaze Kliger is hinting that we are watched as well. While we walk across the space, peering at their expressions, their hair covered bodies and big toes, it appears that they acknowledge us and look back, and with that the similarity becomes a reflection, since this is a two way encounter: if we can recognize the human in the animal, it is only logical that somewhere inside ourselves there is a wild and bestial elements that bring us closer.
On the floor and wall, more of Kliger's drawings are spread: an ear, an eye, hands and feet- all covered with gentle brittle fuzz. The limbs uncover the range of existence between those two poles – human and animal, that coexist: are those lags, which are laid in such a gentle manner, as if reclining on a sofa are not, in fact, of a human? Is that somber, almost penetrating look that is peering at us through a hair-covered eye can belong to an animal?
It's clear that Kliger’s works refuse to give a direct answer to these questions, on the contrary; they try and present us exactly these moments of in-between, where the wild urge is placed together with the human and not apart.
In a series of same size drawings, Inbar Frim is dealing with questions of life and death, conservation and memory. These big questions are presented to us through a unique process that starts with a sculpture and ends with a drawing, while working on a potter's wheel. First, Frim uses the potter’s wheel as a base to build on reliefs of skeletons of small animals. The white color of the porcelain makes the sculptures look as if they were fossils, but the soft unburnt ceramic is pliable and yielding, unlike those remnants from thousands of years ago.
Then, Frim places squares of paper on top of the relief, and the final drawing is made by the technique of frottage: while spinning the wheel she moves pencil and graphite back and forth on the paper, from the center and out, again and again. The layers of pencil lines reveal the outline of a bird, lizard, moth or bat. The movement of drawing slowly deteriorates the porcelain sculptures, leaving the drawing as the only evidence to the physical form of what was, from the beginning, only a relic.
The porcelain fossils also appear inside a light box at the small space at the entrance of the gallery. Inside this lighted tank Frim showcases fragments of bones, skeletons and small dinosaur skulls. These pieces are laid next to each other as if found in an excavation site and then carefully removed to be displayed in a natural history museum. The motif of archology appears also in the casting of fossilized ferns that leans on the walls of the gallery. Similar to Kliger's animal drawings, Frim's fossils exhibit a contradictory essence: as fossils they are essentially a part of the past and represent a long-standing preservation, while, at the same time, being extremely fragile, delicate, and endangered– even the easiest touch will damage them and ruin their completeness and the memory they hold.
On a different part of the gallery Frim creates a site-specific work: spread on the wall are reliefs of a Death's Head Hawkmoth. Frim also spray painted images of the same moth using the reliefs themselves, making them into some sort of stencils. The dark shadows drifting on the walls reveal the edges of wings, tips of antennas, bits of legs – flimsy parts of the whole. Just like in the drawings, the image is only a faded echo of the living thing it once was, and in its current preserved state it is vague and uncertain.
It seems as if, after a long search, the exhibition shows us the way to that original layer of Bedrock: the way to a place we can touch only by unearthing surface after surface, clearing all the mental blocks we accumulated.
Frim and Kliger expose for us that raw and vulnerable space where all known definitions are disputable: Bedrock is where human and beast, solid and ethereal, known and hidden becomes one. It’s the place where we can be everything, and nothing at all.