Leviathan, a site specific sculptural installation stands in the center of Dana Yoeli’s new solo show. The installation features two deeply different sculptural languages and the relationship between them: monumental sculpture on one hand and realistic miniature sculpture of decorative objects on the other.
Leviathan an installation based on a wo-side system, the front of which is a massive, concrete, rocky relief with a formalistic aesthetic characteristic of memorial sites as well as architectural – decorative elements identified with kibbutz architecture of dinning rooms and assembly halls.
The front is anchored to a substantial wall that divides the gallery into two spaces. Positioned behind the concrete relief, the stark white wall functions as the demarcation line in which an arrangement of pedestals on top of which miniature porcelain-like sculptures in
differing stages of finish are placed.
The miniatures are in keeping with the heritage of traditional European porcelain
craftsmanship. They feature a rich repertoire of nature’s devastation, wild
beasts and dismembered bodies. It is a collection of horrifying tales of cruelty in
which man is confronted and defeated by nature’s untamed power.
On the formalistic level, the installation embodies the tension between
monumental sculpture which refers to the collective memory, ideology and solidarity that are imprinted on the viewer but which, in fact are a “cover story” for the local historical narrative and foreign sculptural language of decadent and enigmatic decorative objects, filled with lust and passion.
The subject of the local aesthetic of the material arises: the austere roughness and coarseness of the exposed concrete typical of local 1960’s pragmatic Israeli architecture represents the cold and reserved side of the piece. When contrasted with the rich, overflowing sensuality of the porcelain figurines, the confrontation invokes sensory vertigo.
The refined technique and the aesthetic nature of the miniatures disrupt moral
judgment and facilitate the presentation of these obscene and grotesque scenes.
Exotic motifs such as peacocks, elephant tusks, and African figures call up a yearning for unattainable beauty and sharpen the gap between that beauty and horror. It is a voyeuristic peek across the forbidden boundaries of fantasy.
Leviathan leads the viewer through a sculptural system comprised of two
contradictory languages while both grapple with the same extremes: death,
bereavement and commemoration.