Critics’ Picks

Noa Glazer, Inverted, 2019, felted sheep wool, monk’s pepper, rice glue, oxidized brass, 31 x 17 x 4 1/2".

Noa Glazer, Inverted, 2019, felted sheep wool, monk’s pepper, rice glue, oxidized brass, 31 x 17 x 4 1/2".

Tel Aviv

“Dressing the Wall”

projects | at fifteen
Dizengoff 209 Jaffa-Tel Aviv
February 28–April 5, 2019

In 1929, Wassily Kandinsky praised “the naked wall” as a primary element of art, as an “ideal wall, on which there is nothing, which supports nothing, on which there are hung no paintings, on which one sees nothing.”

“Dressing the Wall,” a pop-up exhibition curated by Fiona Bibersein, explores the love that modernists professed for the wall, subverting it in clever and elegant ways. Three up-and-coming Israeli-born female artists—Noa Glazer, Ofra Lapid, and Noa Schwartz—engage with the wall by lending a gendered dimension to the so-called neutral surface that Kandinsky adored. Glazer brings the inside out with felted sheep wool resembling an intestine that is filled with monk’s pepper grains (Inverted, all works 2019). Elsewhere, using the same source materials, she creates Cracks in the wall and places a soft, stone-shaped block called an Earthrock in one corner. Lapid festoons gorgeous plywood pieces dubbed “moldings” that capture the patterns of ornamental surfaces, from veneers to terrazzo. And Schwartz casts beautiful structures from plaster and sand. They are all delicate and unobtrusive, yet the works’ silence can also feel like a shout.

The exhibition is meticulous: Instead of simply receding to the background, the adornments throughout are carefully thematized, turning surface to depth, “decoration” into subversion. The perfectly smooth white wall is anything but neutral. In “dressing” it, the individual works, and the installation as a whole, achieve a unique combination of quiet, unsettling presence.