Critics’ Picks

Nelly Agassi, Drawing No. 1, 2014, ink-jet print, 47 1/4 x 35 1/2".

Nelly Agassi, Drawing No. 1, 2014, ink-jet print, 47 1/4 x 35 1/2".

Tel Aviv

Nelly Agassi

Dvir Gallery | Tel Aviv
Hizkiyahu Hamelech st. 3
June 28–August 16, 2014

Nelly Agassi presents a series of ink-jet prints, identical in their dimensions and display. The arrangement of the abstracted geometric shapes in each composition echoes both blueprints for unidentified architectural surroundings and humanly configurations, namely, female reproductive organs.

These ambiguous floor plans are driven by harmonious gestures that cannot be fully interpreted or materialized. The grid-like compositions repeat a constructive logic, as seen in Drawing No. 3 (all works cited, 2014) in which a circular shape functions as the center of an abstract structure, to which all else responds. A central form also anchors Drawing No. 1; abstract objects organize around it, perhaps creating an arena or a stage as seen from a bird’s-eye view. The form, positioned at the lower edge of the composition, might indicate a hypothetical audience’s location. Rendered as a pendulous appendage, its ambiguous presence marks an emptied space.

Since her emergence in the Israeli art scene in late 1990s, Agassi has used textiles and her own body in intimate video and performance works to confront feminine physicality, painful emotional moments, and societal models of behavior. This exhibition, however, marks a turning point in her practice and technique, commensurate with the transformations she has experienced in recent years, including becoming a mother, relocating with her family from Tel Aviv to Chicago, and establishing the new studio in which she has redefined her practice. The visceral directness of her past work is now replaced by seemingly opaque shapes that remain remote, yet equally captivating.