Angelica Sher | On Seashore Far a Green Oak Towers
Angelika Sher’s exhibition opens with a quote from ‘Ruslan and Ludmila’ – the famous poem by the greatest Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Written between 1817-1820, it serves as the symbolic axis around which the exhibition is woven. The exhibition unfolds as a quest, in a remote, dramatic and beautiful setting. The point of view is phantasmatic but rooted in a world existing between Israel and Lithuania, in a magic space of immigration. This space she places us in colorful harmony, is the archetypal paradise from which all humans were exiled to a foreign and unknown land. The narrative of the exhibition based on folk legends and folklore, develops into expressions of multiculturalism and an examination of the integration processes of immigrants in their new culture. Like many human psyche processes, they are transversal but also very personal and intimate. Sher expresses her multicultural partnership, circles of identities, and her movement between them. Her visual language is rich, full of details, shapes and symbols, metaphors and motifs drawn from the bottom of the collective subconscious. It portrays spiritual and material characteristics of the culture from which she immigrated to Israel as an adult in the 90’s. References and symbols of Israeliness are also woven into this twisted system of roots.
Sher photographs in Israel, but her artistic language stems deeply from the history and heritage of European art and culture. The light, compositions and rhetorical use of symbols and icons. This first layer is the contact point between two cultural groups and a representation of the symbiosis between her culture of origin and the integrating culture in Israel. Sher’s integration processes are also internalized within the artistic discourse. She talks about an emotional maturity to examine her place concerning Israeli art history, by photographing a homage to painter Yosl Bergner’s- an immigrant family against the background of the Sabra.
The exhibition has an autobiographical side to it, although, it metamorphosed to a phantasmatic appearance. The objects are from Sher’s home, and the people are from her life. The collages are comprised of personal nostalgic objects , that also function as cultural symbols: a figurine of Cheburashka and Gena the Crocodile, a white swan, a childhood clock shaped like Soviet monuments, grandma’s floral tray for birthday cakes. Blinis with red Caviar portray a full moon, a magic carpet woven like a summer night dream landscape. Inside this thick human cauldron, the deer’s horns burn like the seven-branched Menorah candelabrum. Saint Basil’s Cathedral, which dominates Moscow’s Red Square, one of the most famous buildings in the world and considered to be the center of Russia, grows like a mirage in the sands of Rishon LeTsiyon, forming an image taken from the One Thousand and One Stories of Middle Eastern Nights. A young woman wearing IDF uniform braids a Challah on the Last Supper’s table. The photographed characters are her nuclear and distant family, friends (and their cat). Despite their humanity, they are typological; they are not historical figures or even flesh-and-blood figures. They are representations of sub-hybrid identities, which merge into a hybrid creature of a third kind.
The walls display multicultural wealth. Eastern European, Middle Eastern, Israeli, Lithuanian, Russian, human. A homogeneous proposal for a new type of wide-ranging human identity.