Critics’ Picks

Eitan Ben Moshe, Ad Olam, 2017–19, melted glasses, plain glass, epoxy resin, 3-D prints polymers, rotary engines, digital timers, electronic devices, metal, led light, fabric, metal, aluminum plates, Gypsum boards, 10 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 13 1/2'.

Herzliya

Eitan Ben Moshe

Herzliya Museum
4 Ha'banim St
May 25–August 24, 2019

Every single element in Eitan Ben Moshe’s exhibition “Thus Far” seems to be outside its natural habitat, but what that habitat is remains unclear. Entering the exhibition, visitors encounter a room within a room—a box of mirrors, partially darkened, divided in two (Ad Olam, 2017–19). Reflective walls surround an elevated crystalline surface partly covered with a white coating that resembles ice or hardened dust: Deserted alchemical lab or small-scale tundra? Turning and shaking slowly via a rotary engine, glass fragments emit a melodic sound that metamorphizes them into musical instruments.

These glass forms—from which jut tubes and pipes, fingers, and butterfly wings—exist somewhere between organic and synthetic, and although their state is one of expansion, their growth is synonymous with decay. Elsewhere, a large severed hand, theatrically spotlighted, faces a water-damaged white wall. Delicate drawings on paper feature erotic floral forms with colored pencil marks and TipX, the marks so frail they seem to vanish while being viewed. Finally, five foam mattresses on the floor invite visitors to lie down and regard a miniature wood, glass, and metal apparatus spin. The mattresses are patterned with vivid psychedelic images of extinct butterflies.
 
Ben Moshe’s inventions think in millennia and thrive where archeological findings and apocalyptic reality collide. The Israeli artist’s POV is not external to esotericism in its counterculture configurations and New Age commercial variants, from crystal healing or psychedelic trip treatments to mindfulness and Zen Buddhism. Attuned to the extent to which our Information Age is defined by such esotericism (rather than rationalism), he aspires to navigate art back to its premodern, archaic pursuit to give collective consciousness a shape in matter. In this spirit, the exhibition invokes a state of meditation amid an ongoing catastrophe.