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The Destruction of All Art  ~  הרס כל האמנות

Art Cube Artists' Studios, Jerusalem  |  Curator: Ilanit Konopny  |  2024

Since 2014, Darvish has created montage works compiled into a series titled “The Destruction of All Art”. The title of the series is taken from a work by Fluxus artist Ben Vautier, which declared, The Destruction of All Art is Art Too, Please Tear This Up. Darvish responded to Vautier’s call by tearing his statement in two, and overlaying it with a fragment of a photograph by Hungarian photographer André Kertész. By truncating Vautier’s statement, Darvish rendered it a title that appears to demand the destruction of all art while expressing the dual meaning of the word tear, letting the images weep for their rupture. She cut out canonical images from the history of photography and art history, mixed them up and grafted them onto images from a variety of content domains, retaining the title of one of the appropriated artworks, including, on occasion, the caption of the original from which the image was taken. The titles captured in the montages are subverted to the point of actual destruction of the art and a negation of the meanings instilled in the works by their original creators. The works from this series are scattered in the exhibition among photographs, collages and a sculpture by Darvish and set the pace of viewing it.

Dervish adopts tactics of looking at the feminine figure and the animal body known from Western art and culture in order to sabotage and puncture the historical artistic act, to destroy and puncture it. Her works and the installations she creates through them highlight the formalistic aspects and the power of beauty - in a wound, a cut, an imperfection - that stand at the base of her artistic work.  In the works on view in the exhibition and the artist’s book Nefesh Hayah Bi / Study for Woman launched on this occasion, she offers a subversive alternative to the feminine figure, and her work practice itself becoming an act of protest. Together, the exhibition and the book suggest that the soul and image of an animal and/or a woman are transformed under Darvish’s hands for the purpose of restoring, conserving, and forging a new seminal female narrative.

Darvish composed the selection of works in the exhibition in the shadow of a bloody, senseless and destructive reality. Her call for the The Destruction of All Art and for defacement as an act of resistance is coupled with her dogged determination to underline a re-creation of realities and possibilities of existence. Her works are a non-final, ongoing study of sex and body, soul and grief, emptiness and loss, woman and animal.

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