Uniting low-tech aesthetics and allusions to classic cinema, theater, and music, videos by the three artists included in Homecooked address questions of power, identity, and artifice within mundane, often domestic settings.
Homecooked features three videos prepared with thought and care that satisfy the viewer’s appetite with inventive, low-tech aesthetics, modest materials, and passion for cinema, theater, and music. Videos by Guy Ben-Ner, Silvia Gruner, and Ohad Meromi appear simple at first, but progressively reveal a complex set of codes about illusion, artifice, and the dynamics of power.
Since 1996, Guy Ben-Ner has integrated his studio practice with his domestic life by casting cooperative family members in his films. Wild Boy was shot in Ben Ner’s apartment using crude props, contraptions, and stage sets. Ben-Ner’s son Amir plays the role of the feral child. After capturing the boy in the wild, the teacher (Ben-Ner) attempts to dominate, tame, and train the foundling. The artist pays homage to film history with references to the motion picture experiments of Lumière, the slapstick wit of Keaton and Chaplin, and the New Wave cinema of Truffaut. In addition, Wild Boy is a contemporary gloss on fiction and legends concerning feral children, the most popular of which were Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes and Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
Like Guy Ben-Ner, Ohad Meromi creates imaginative worlds and elaborate stage sets constructed entirely in his studio. He works in a variety of media including sculpture, costume, installation, and video. His mise-en-scène for Moon Colony is inspired by Greek myth, modern dance, and atonal music. Moon Colony may also be the artist’s method of working through Israel’s colonial history through the realm of science fiction. Meromi states, “...I was trying to work without forcing a story, so all you have is a series of figures in spaces, like a survey of a site with no real action. This turned into this existential narrative—a lone figure in the landscape, which proceeds to another landscape, and then another, and that’s all it can do, nothing ever happens.”
Silvia Gruner uses video, photography, performance, sculpture, and installation to explore aspects of culture, identity, and gender. In Lazy Susan, Gruner enacts a loose narrative about desire, love, and loss. The artist stages a dizzy romance on a revolving tray at a Chinese restaurant. Her lovers are a pair of dancing glasses drawn together and repelled by centrifugal force. The impassioned lyrics of the Burt Bacharach soundtrack offer a sharp contrast to the cool material of the objects.
Homecooked is presented in conjunction with artis - Israel Contemporary Art and the centennial of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.
Guy Ben-Ner lives and works in New York City. He received his MFA at Columbia University. His work has been exhibited at Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Ben-Ner represented Israel in the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005. He participated in the 2001–2002 Guest Artist and Lecturer program of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. He is represented by Postmasters Gallery (New York).
Silvia Gruner lives and works in Mexico City. She received her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and her BFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited at Bienal de la Habana (Cuba), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), The Kitchen (New York), Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil (Mexico City), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego), and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. She is represented by Iturralde Gallery (Los Angeles).
Ohad Meromi lives and works in New York City. He received his MFA from Columbia University and his BFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited at The Israel Museum, The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. He is represented by Harris Lieberman (New York) and Tal Esther Gallery (Tel Aviv).