| || ||A Beautiful Catastrophe / Amitai Mendelsohn |
from: Real Time - group show catalogue
curated by Amitai Mendelsohn and Efrat Natan, 2008
Many of Gal Weinstein's works deal with the tension between scientific attempts to study natural phenomena and the inherent chaos of nature, which occasionally makes a broadside attack on human existence. In Examples of Fractures, 2006, Weinstein used layers of processed wood to create an enlarged model of a geological representation of an earthquake. Above these strata which were covered with artificial turf, stood a small golfer poised to swing at a ball. In this way the work, despite its humorous edge, conducted a dialogue with the Romantic tradition's juxtaposition of the natural world and Man, who may be able to accumulate knowledge about nature, but cannot tame its unpredictable forces.
Weinstein mediates between local reality and a much wider context. Environmental disaster and the remnants of a world destroyed by volcanic eruption are the theme of Weinstein's 2007-8 Slope, which quotes from Attached to the Ground, a work from 1999 in which he covered the entire floor of the Kibbutz Gallery in Tel Aviv with a red tiled roof in European style, a metaphor for Israeli bourgeois aspirations that deny the reality of the Levantine environment. The focus on the roof in isolation, with no walls to support it, made its presence more pronounced and turned it into an object, the symbol of an unrealized utopia. In 2007 Weinstein returned to the image of the roof, this time placing roofs inside what appears to be a heap of soot that has hardened and buried the buildings underneath it. We are reminded of the fate of Pompeii, its glory covered in ashes by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius – although with his usual detached humor, Weinstein chose to evoke a tourist site rather than a real ancient city. The synthetic materials he used in the installation remind us that we are looking at a contemporary "take" on ancient grandeur, similar to the tourist illusions of Las Vegas. The red-shingled roof, Weinstein's symbol for an Israeli fantasy of a Swiss chalet, finds itself buried beneath the ruins of the dream.