A text by Lena Zaidel for Ronen Siman Tovīs exhibition: The Artist as a Private Detective, 2014
Agripas 12 Gallery, Jerusalem
Ronen Siman Tov - Recipient of the Shoshanah Ish-Shalom Award for Artwork ,2014
The Artist as a Private Detective
In the exhibition at the Agripas 12 Gallery, The Artist as a Private Detective, Ronen Siman Tov presents a series of portraits in which he plays the role of a defective stalking himself. The series deals with the many identities of an artist who looks into his own inner world and with his endless searches for the ultimate portrait. In the course of the series, from one portrait to another, the image of the artist goes through many transmutations; an insect researcher, rabbis and Torah sages, soldiers, others whose identities cannot be defined, those who seem like hitmen, an artist with a ruler and an artist as a private detective. Each portrait presents a different aspect of his personality and attempts to answer the question, "Who am I?"
The artist as a wandering Jew moves between his reflections as they increase in number along his journey toward utopia, where perhaps someday all of his reflections and identities will merge into one. Meanwhile, though, it seems that the detective, the observer, the analyst and stalker of the images - has himself become the main actor . Seemingly, the detective is preparing himself for a dramatic turnabout in his analysis; based on the latest update, the missing portrait is likely to be found in the space between (!) the works of the series....
The wanderings of the artist/detective after his elusive identity lead us to the "Image in the Tent" - a large work whose colorfulness fluctuates between intense orange and bright white. On the drawing surface appears an ethereal figure delineated by a hesitant outline and enveloped by a transparent veil. At the feet of the figure, on the ground, is a crystal ball. This composition creates a sense of witchcraft; the space of the painting becomes a witness to some mysterious ritual. A second look at the painting shows that the activity of the image bears not only the signs of a spiritual ritual taking place in nowhere, but perhaps alludes to a specific place ... somewhere in the Middle East?
The image covered with desert scenery raises associations connecting it with the Sanctuary in the wilderness, to an army tent, but also to a sheet of nylon serving as protection from chemical weapons. All this is only another station along the journey toward discovering the identity, not only on the personal level, but also on the collective level, and perhaps even the image of the leader.
The theatricality of Ronen Siman Tovīs works, the tragic-comic moves in the game of identities, lead us to ponder about the fragility of life, to reflect inward, to search for the elusive point of our relationship with the ever-changing reality, and to search for answers to the questions: "Who are we? What are our real faces and what are only our reflections?"
Lena Zeidel, 2014
Translation from Hebrew: Yehoshua Yair
Neopostism? Neosent? 2021
New website: https://lenazaidel.com
Measurements are given in centimeters, height Š width
All the reproduction photos of Lena Zaidel's artworks in this website,
are taken by Michael Amar, unless otherwise noted.