Critics’ Picks

View of “Lihi Turjeman: Center of Gravity,” 2016.

View of “Lihi Turjeman: Center of Gravity,” 2016.

Tel Aviv

Lihi Turjeman

Sommer Contemporary Art
13 Rothschild Boulevard
September 8–October 22, 2016

A large and meditative canvas showing a very hazy view from Mount Nebo, where Moses stood to view but not to enter the Promised Land; a monochrome drawing of a grotto in Rosh Hanikra, where the historic Palestine Railways passed from the Galilee to Lebanon until it was bombed in 1948; and a realistic rendering of a Palestine one pound note: These are few examples of Lihi Turjeman’s retracing of past narratives combining myth, history, and contemporary politics featured in this exhibition.

At the heart of the show is Center of Gravity, 2016, a canvas placed on the floor, which depicts the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount in Jerusalem, flattened like an aerial topographical plan seen on Google maps. We hover above it, knowing that the octagonal structure guards a foundation stone from which, according to monotheistic tradition, the world was created. It is believed to cover the abyss, to be the source of water, the burial site of the first man, and the binding stone where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac. There are numerous stories about this stone, which is both fabled and concrete. And this is exactly the force of Turjeman’s art: laboriously manipulated raw materials—pigments, glue, and gravel—portraying real locations that are themselves pushed to the outmost mythical realm, hovering between the virtual and the real.