By Leonardo Berenstein
It is the last days of summer in Jerusalem, winter is making it’s first appearance in the city. This time I am interviewing the visual artist Renana Aldor, whose last exhibition, Blind Spot, was exhibited in the Art Cube Artists’ Studios in Jerusalem, on their Artists’ Wall exhibition space.
Renana Aldor studied at the Bezalel Academy, in the Screen-Based Arts Department and has exhibited her works in various spaces: Barbur Gallery, New Gallery Artists’ Studios, Arsenal Gallery Poznan, Mamuta Art and Media Center, among others. Her graduation film La Femme qui Cherche screened in various festivals such as Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo and the Jerusalem Film Festival.
Renana also works as an independent filmmaker and animator, and has collaborated with renowned cultural institutions such as The Israel Museum, The Italian Jewish Museum, and others.
As we sit, cup of coffee in hand, we talk about her last exhibition, Blind Spot, curated by Nino Biniashvili, and her career in general.
Leo: Shalom, Renana! Tell us what influences you in your art and what inspires you to start a project?
Renana: Most of the time, my process starts from the written word, or a collection of words, an artistic textual idea, and from there it grows to a more visual idea. I am very influenced by film history and film itself as a medium — a moving image. I try to express emotional situations through film, but in a metaphorical, symbolic way.
Leo: What message do you try to express in your art?
Renana: In the majority of my works it is not a direct message, but an unconscious one. I want the viewer to experience an emotional journey. I like my films to be unsolved, like a mystery. My films are very personal, it comes from a place that is very close to my feelings, my fears, my emotional views. I try to express the feeling of the material — how an object or a texture makes me feel, but in a visual way. It is not a direct message, but a holistic view that I want to build in the viewer.
Leo : Let’s talk about Blind Spot…
Renana: Blind Spot is a video animation installation constructed from three metaphorical episodes, each one represents a genre in classical art: Portrait, Still Life, and Landscape. At the beginning of the video you see me, sitting in a wooden chair, forty five degrees to the camera like a classical portrait. The second episode, still life, is a composition coloured in white of fruits, bottles, and different objects. The last episode is a 3D animation of a car floating in the dark, the camera goes inside the car, and rotates, exploring the car as an inner landscape.
Each episode represents an emotional condition, a mirror to myself in some way. I think of this film as a cinematic way to look inside of me, let’s say, as if I changed the direction of my sight and looked inside, exploring whats happening in the back of my mind. I was influenced by Lacan’s ׳mirror stage׳, where the infant reveals his own image in the mirror. I wanted to create my own gestalt as an adult artist. The film is based on a methodical movement, dolly-in : the camera moves towards the image, inside, deep, closer and closer till almost touching the image in an extreme close-up, and then it goes away and we are back into complete darkness until the next image appears.
Leo: Why did you choose to work with a grey palette? what does this color represent ?
Renana: I thought about these three episodes as a transition from reality to illusion. First episode represents the human body — the organic; Second one, half organic, half still; and Third one, the computer material, the virtual world. The grey color helps to establish this transition.
Leo: How was the work flow for this project ?
Renana: In this film I worked with two very good friends of mine: Tomer Zmora, a photographer; and Or Drori, an animator and after-effect artist. The Three of us created the movement of the camera, I directed it. The portrait and the still life were shot in the studio, the lighting was crucial. The car part was made completely on a computer. After we controlled the lights, I knew how I wanted it to look in the computer. The camera was in a crane and the photographer used it to get close to the set, while me and Or, at the same time, were changing the angle of the lense with a joystick. We did half of the shot in the studio, and we finished it with after-effects. So, the film mixes together the real and the unreal.
Leo : Tell us about the original soundtrack?
Renana: It was a collaboration, I worked on the sound track with the duo Dan Kisler, and Gal Hochberg. It was a challenge to explain what I wanted, because it was a very abstract idea. I tried to explain how I wanted each episode to feel like. For example, in the last episode, the episode with the car, I wanted something a little bit futuristic, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Tarkovsky’s Solaris. I explained to the musicians how I wanted each episode to feel, and gave them freedom to create and the result was brilliant.
Leo : So, after Blind Spot, what are your next steps?
Renana: I am starting my MFA at the Bezalel Academy in Tel Aviv. I see myself growing and evolving as an artist and presenting my work in Israel and abroad. Currently I’m working on prints as part of a residency program in the Jerusalem Print Workshop. I’m excited for next to come and looking forward for the future!
About the author: Leonardo Berenstein is a self-taught photographer, abstract artist, and poetry writer. Instagram: @abstract.wergh.