The artists in the exhibition:
Issachar Ber Ryback, Milly Barzellai, Netaly Aylon, Eitan Ben-Moshe, Lior Shachar, Omer Halperin, Ravid Freedman, Eliran Dahan, Ariela Shavid, Uri Katzenstein, Tamir Lichtenberg, Elinor Salomon
New Age is a spiritual movement based on a unified perception of the universe. At its core we find the recognition that there are many latent forces that act on us and through us – whether they are physical, spiritual, forces of the mind, or forces for which we do not even have a name. New Age was born in the 1970s and became identified by many with spiritual charlatans – the outcome of the encounter between spiritual philosophies from the East and rampant capitalism in the West. In contrast to other disciplines that sought out to uncover the underlying forces at play in the universe (e.g. science, philosophy, and psychoanalysis), the New Age movement was generally seen as a ridiculous phenomenon that falls under the category of leisure culture, devoid of any scientific validity. But the roots of New Age are not in self-indulgent distraction, but in the profound crisis engendered by WWII and the Vietnam War, and the desire to overcome and even grow from it.
The exhibition wishes to identify the sincere manifestations of New Age in the Israeli art scene. The exhibited works, which seem to resonate with a similar dreamlike frequency, all share the desire to capture something that is beyond the conceivable and the visible and give it tangible shape and material. While they do not necessarily define themselves as ‘New Ageists’, the artists nevertheless emerge as researchers-agents who push the boundaries of the mind. Their common pursuit – to bring the unknown into the consciousness, is fueled by a fundamental crisis that took place in the past or present, which the artistic act wishes to heal or elucidate in some way.
The exhibition searches for the art of the New Age, with the understanding that it is still present and its manifestations are only expanding towards the technological and virtual realm. The various artworks reveal that the digital cyberspace, which turns people into mere consciousness, summons the emergence of the disintegrated body. Not the ‘Body Without Organs,’ but rather organs without body: eye, finger, hand, people detached from their surroundings, floating in space or emerging from the darkness.
While Western thought gives precedence to mind over body, and in fact turns its back to the body and the profound knowledge it holds, the New Age introduces a holistic proposal in which body and mind are one, and points to the cost of disrupting the relationship between them. Contemporary New Age art offers to experience art not only as an image but as material to be approached and sensed. In this sense, the sculptures and paintings in the exhibition act as channels for reclaiming the tangibility of the vulnerable, powerful, knowledgeable body, which as long as we are human it just may be too soon to give it up.