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Tommy Hartung, Braverman Gallery, 2017

Tommy Hartung at Braverman Gallery (installation view)

Exhibition

TOMMY HARTUNG presents “Lilleth”

January 17 – March 21, 2017

Braverman Gallery
12b Hasharon St. Tel Aviv,
Israel 66185

In this current sculpture series, Hatung’s white demons become still objects, lacking a moving image. He nonetheless explores the possibility of creating movement with these static sculptures. As the viewer walks around the heads the surface is crafted to catch light and shadow in unnatural ways. The projected light is only to enhance the experience of trying to read a face and the light’s movement adds a theatrical dimension to the spectator’s experience.

The position of the hair on the heads and its shape form a sense of movement as well. Hair is an essential characteristic of a human head, and is charged with social and cultural symbolism. It frames the way in which we perceive a person. The human brain is attuned to the reception of facial expressions, and can reflect the motives of a certain character. However, Hartung’s white demons sculptures are an attempt to avoid this dimension of certainty. The sculptures are made of CelluClay, a flexible material that hardens permanently when dried.

In the Bakery space, the video ‘Lilith’ (2016) is projected. Through the use of cinematic techniques and with influences from various cinematic styles such as Cinema Vérité, Hartung breathes life into still objects. These are “experiments” that are rebuild in front of the camera. The objects are difficult to define or recognize, and are built from various household objects such as plastic bags, matches, cardboard boxes and toys. The style in most of Hartung’s works is “nostalgic” ­– the objects are hand made in an amateurish fashion, and the lo-fi footage combines basic techniques that were common in the early days of cinema.

‘Lilith’s sound track is taken from a trance voodoo ritual, in which women dance and become vessels for a certain kind of divinity summoned by the music. In the film, this dance is described as a children story, with toys and colorful lights. The experience of trance is usually described as abstract rather than following a clear narrative. Accordingly, the camera work and editing are abstract and open for interpretation rather than fostering a linear story. The work also draws inspiration from films of Pier Pasolini and the cartoonist R. Crumb.

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