Petach Tikva Museum of Art
Ora Lev gently touches the nerves of fragile human existence, the conscious finality. Lev recovers in her work autobiographic situations and experiences and describes symbolic mental states associated with pity and anxiety. Lev grew up in a rural area and her work is preserving something from the experience of the prime open spaces, but it exaggerates merging in-to this space up-to surrendering one-self to the point of extinction.
In black & white works, Lev explores immersion and purification conditions. In one of the works, the body of the artist is assimilated and disappeared in water. Grainy complexion produces an image which seemed to dissolve, sinks and merges in-to the watery space, but at the same time the body inexplicably is lit, duplicated, and triples the body silhouette. This metaphor ranges from birth to drowning and death.
"In terms of the sub-conscious, impurity is always varied, sparkling and is expressed in different ways. This is why we can blame the impure water in many sins [...] In terms of the sub-conscious,
contaminated water are vessels of evil, a receptacle open to all possible evils, the essence of evil. [...] water have the power of intimacy, can cleanse the inner being. They can respond to the eloquent soul the snowy whiteness. That who is splashed with water at him goes through a process of moral cleanliness. [...] This law of the material works similarly both ways, it ensures the active nature of substance: a drop of pure water purifies an ocean of water but an impure drop contaminates the universe" writes Gaston Baslr.
Another work of note, showing only the outline remains, absent from the body. Helpless outstretched body, arms and legs, mock crucifix in mud and small pricking sticks, reminiscent of the act of worship. The empty envelop of the body in the mud in a seemingly act of crucifixion are at odds with a circle of light that focuses on the basin of the missing figure, suggesting the potential of femininity and the creation and generation from this vacancy. Will this drowning body be resurrected? Similar duality exists in the color portray of a dying dog on the vet's table while a female figure leaning over him warmly trying to heal it. Human bliss is accentuated with a bold patch of light that brings to mind the Krawag'io paintings, enveloping and isolating the two in the cold and lonely room.
Lev's video constellation, in which father and son are sinking into the water, is based on an everyday situation: Family swimming lesson presented as a psychological condition through Lev's use of lighting. Father and son in his arms plunged down as if drowning in a watery space in what seems to be a bleeding womb-like environment, while the mother who captures the video is absent from the photo. They form a dramatic triangle of this frozen moment, merges both calmness and anxiety in one existential moment. The diving in-to the depths mentions the rare beauty in the movie "The Big Blue" by Luc Besson, but also the element of struggle with a potentially destructive nature.
Lev wanders between the border districts of the natural and that of family, wild and cultivated, and fragments of memories which drew supernatural dimensions. Staged photography allows Lev to create a frame for her narrative skimming reality, out-of a being which is both unraveling and struggling. Openness to the random, intuitive and humane existence is filling the border district of consciences with an oscillation between dream and actuality.
Dorit Gur – Ariea, Curator
Petach Tikva Museum of Art | 2006