Critics’ Picks

Tsibi Geva, untitled, 2011, mixed media on flatbed trolley, 32 x 20 x 7”.

Tsibi Geva, untitled, 2011, mixed media on flatbed trolley, 32 x 20 x 7”.


Tsibi Geva

Ashdod Museum of Art
Derekh Ha-Aretz str., 8
July 19–November 11, 2012

Those who know Tsibi Geva’s paintings, sculptures, and installations from the past three decades are familiar with these works’ unique poetic sensibility and their astute political commentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For instance, Geva’s ongoing “Keffiyeh” series, 1988–, puts the pattern of the traditional Arab headdress into dialogue with chain-link fences.

Curators Yona Fischer and Roni Cohen-Binyamini conceived “Transition, Object,” Geva’s current retrospective, as a glimpse into his understanding of the objet trouvé. Shifting the focus from the Israeli artist’s so-called political haiku—his combination of the political and the poetic—to phenomenological concerns, this show presents Geva’s found objects as part of a holistic archive, thus questioning their very definition and emphasizing, as its title suggests, the continuum from an objet trouvé to an artwork.

Among the 170 pieces on view, fifty are unaltered by Geva, while the remaining 120 are split between his paintings and sculptures and the found items he has simply signed. He calls the latter “adopted abandoned objects.” Untitled (Bird) and The Sea of Gaza, both 2012, are painted on a discarded window and a wood-mounted Formica sign, respectively. An untitled work from 2011 features a found flatbed dolly that has a Star of David on the bottom and one of Geva’s “Keffiyeh” paintings on the other side. Its hybrid character is emphasized by the installation: The dolly is suspended from the ceiling, exposing both sides and thus drawing attention to the split between a found object on one side and an artwork on another.