Out Of Touch / P8 Gallery, 2019
Curator: Hagar Bril
Shir Lusky’ exhibition Out of Touch was forged out of a deceptive and complex relationship between photography and sculpture, between flat image and three-dimensional material. Through the dialogue between them, Lusky introduces us to the possibilities of a vague physical existence, partially real, both tangible and hidden. The same blurry space appears frequently in Lusky's photographs, which trace material disturbances: openings, fragments, windows, holes and potholes. Through these images, she is seeking the possibility to go deeper, to go through, to immerge on the other side of things. This is an attempt to dismantle the partition between the inside and outside, trying to allow the two separated sides to drip over through the concrete, steel and plaster barriers.
The lowered wall facing the entrance to the gallery space hides the back gallery wall, which is a part of the building itself. A large hole was opened in the cast plate board, through which one can perceive a part of a photograph, which also features a black hole in the building, and is partially covered with a blue cloth. You can see the pipes that pass through the wall, and a black, enigmatic puddle in front of it. The different planes of photography become an architectural installation spread out in space, which traces the photographic aesthetics and is trapped in the frame provided by the walls of the gallery. The flatness that characterizes photography is disturbed by the split into the layers of installation that follow one another, yet there is no real depth either; the wall of the gallery, as well as the photograph that is partially revealed, block us. The more we try to delve deeper, the more we discover that the layers do not give us a final answer, but only additional questions.
These layers feature in another photograph by Lusky, which portrays an empty stairwell seen through a window facing the street. The photograph appears to blend worlds that are not supposed to coexist. Apart from a round lamp, hanging like a moon in the upper part of the frame, there is not even one element of the image that can be fully viewed: the wall is hidden by the staircase, which is hidden by a painted semicircle and tree trunk – or perhaps it is only a tree-shaped sculpture. In front of the painting, a bench is laid out, and in front of that there is a white box wrapped in nylon, on which lean triangular glass panels and black painted wood. One thing is positioned behind the other, every item is hidden by what preceded it, and the depth of the space vanishes into the flatness of photography, uniting all the layers on a flat sheet of paper.
Lusky's frame contains an almost surreal conglomeration of objects, which have nothing to do with each other. Some are related to the domestic sphere, like the stairs and the picture, and some – like the bench and the tree – are connected to the world outside. Their material status is also vague and doubtful. Another look at the center of the image reveals another layer: a reflection of a building located outside, behind the photographer's back. The light, which creates the photograph itself, seems to penetrate and become part of the image. Thus, through the window, the outside and inside seek to mingle, dissolve together into a twilight zone where they will no longer be separated.
A pipe that penetrates the gallery through the wall also connects between the indoor and the outdoor. We usually encounter the white air-conditioner pipe as it spills in every corner on the outer walls of buildings, balconies and sidewalks in the city. Here the pipe winds through the wall inwardly – bursting out of it into the gallery, like a kind of uncontrolled organism. It flows into space, almost alive, revealing to us the inner insides of the solid material framing the gallery space. Like the black hole that swallows everything into it, or the openings of the human body that connect our inner parts to the outside world, so are the holes carved in the wall disrupting pro forma order that divides the world into 'there' and 'here': Are we inside? Or outside? When we stand in the gallery space, are we in the room-or outside the wall?
The black puddles, scattered around the gallery’s floor, bear a dual character as well. On the one hand, they resemble a kind of material that may have been emitted from the same pipes that are revealed inside the walls: further evidence of breaking the boundaries, another possibility of getting closer to what is beyond our reach. On the other hand, the puddles create an image: the shiny surface captures reflections of the gallery space, copying and duplicating the existing visual reality, turning it into a kind of distant illusion.
A Reflection, like a hole or a layer, does not exist independently: all three depend on what surrounds them. A layer becomes such only when there is something above or below it, before or behind it. Reflections can be created on a surface only when there is something that can be reflected in light, and the hole is a hollow vacuum that needs the material around it to exist. These three elements, so closely associated with the material world, are all found within Lusky’s photographic world of images, which seeks to rearrange the relations between strata and superficiality, openings and obstructions. By relating to their dual nature, Out of Touchallows us to reflect on existential validity stemming from the creation of an image – but also shattered through it. Thus, the exhibition demonstrates for us the gray area that exists between what we see in the world and what is really in it.