Expo à Tel Aviv : “New Totems and Other Sleeping Gods”

New Totems and Other Sleeping Gods | Group Exhibition | 22.02- 30.04.2024

Elsa Ers Brosh

Suly Bornstein Wolff, Philippe Boulakia, Israel Cohen, Elsa Ers Brosh, Ziqian Liu, Jessica Moritz, Daniel Remer, Dubi Ronen, Beenee See, Hen Songo, Miguel Vallinas Prieto

The term “totem” originated in the ‘Ojibwe’ dialect of North America and can be understood as a reference to “kinship”, “lineage”, “identity”, and so forth. The term gradually gained importance during the 18th century and was exported to describe the same type of human Certain animals and plants were also believed to .animal relationship on other continents share this relationship, and thus their symbols became the national emblem of ethnic groups, known as “totems”.

According to the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, totemism was a way of naming a fusional relationship with nature. The term has been also evoked to design a form of collective worship, reinforcing social cohesion and solidarity.

While Totemic art refers to artistic creations that depict or embody symbols of animals or other natural objects representing the spiritual beliefs and traditions of a community, the concept of totems gradually emerged in modern and contemporary art in the 20th century.

Examples include: the relationship between Jackson Pollock and primitive religion, the association between Pablo Picasso and African masks, and the connection between avantgarde futurism and myth.

The concept of the totem animal was also embraced by several surrealists—the fish for Breton, the bird for Max Ernst, the horse for Leonora Carrington, the dog for Dorothea Tanning.

In a similar view, the artworks presented in this exhibition offer various insights into the art–religion or sacred relationship in the broadest sense of the term, viewing art as a vehicle for expressing spiritual dimensions and responding to essential human existential questions.

The works acknowledge duality by reflecting expression of tension between life and death, between reality and fantasy, between Nature and the supernatural, unveiling a mystical experience triggered by imagery.

© Nathalie Wertheimer


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