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New works by Yael Kanarek reconfigure cultural distances between Hebrew, English and Arabic.
October 18 – November 17, 2007
bitforms gallery is pleased to announce Warm Fields, Yael Kanarek’s second solo exhibition in New
York. A concurrent exhibition of additional work at The Jewish Museum opens October 30 and remains
on view through February 24, 2008. Marking the debut of new sculpture and installations, both
exhibitions feature compositions of words and narrative that depict the charged spaces existing
Born in New York and raised in Israel, Kanarek explains, “English, Arabic, and Hebrew make up the
semantic landscape of my childhood. By association, political conditions and media frame these
languages in conflict. The art process allows for the simulation of alternative realities, and the works in
this installation define an area for reflection–specifically on the tension between cultures.”
Kanarek’s art installations broaden a story space called World of Awe (www.worldofawe.net) that was
initiated online in 1995. Integrating a range of media into an advanced hypertextual system, Kanarek
expands the ancient genre of a traveler’s tale. Over the past decade the artist has developed a unique
vocabulary of networked interfaces using photography, text, sculpture, and performance. Exploring
connections between travel, memory, storytelling, and technology, World of Awe is the diary of an
ungendered traveler who searches for a lost treasure in a fictional parallel world called Sunset/Sunrise.
On view at the far gallery wall, hundreds of rubber words in three languages form a horizon.
Suggesting a vertical trajectory within this landscape, the words “Sunset/Sunrise” physically compose
layers of space and introduce time-based passageway. A topographic plane of trilingual text sits atop a
mound of sand on the gallery floor in Find, which uses a webbed structure that resembles crochet.
Clustered into emerging patterns that give way to delicate chaotic moments, the sculpture is formed
by the valediction that ends all love letters in the traveler’s journal: “Yours forever, your sunset/sunrise
forever yours, yours forever your.”
Mesmerizing in its detail and use of light and shadow, Kiss is a grid composed of 900 points. Two
overlapping planes in the grid organize “kiss”, “قبلة“ and “נשיקה“ at mirrored reading directionscharging
an intimate space in between three verbal representations of touch. This exhibition also
includes Kanarek’s most recent Internet artwork, Object of Desire, the third chapter in her ongoing
online narrative. Grounded in an observation that language defines a border and territory on the
Internet, this chapter includes fifteen trilingual scenes that connect individuals to language and history.
Built into a structure of silver findings that was constructed around the body of a friend by measuring
his circumferences and lengths, Cut is a wall piece based also on a journal entry from Object of Desire:
Travelog 765.34/3: Cut
The serrated kitchen knife cut into a lemon, taking the tip of my middle finger with it. Time
stopped for an infinite second of shock, resumed when blood splashed the lemon-nice colorsthe
sharp pain struck. My circumcised middle finger formed a covenant with the word cut. It is
not round anymore, but my internal body map still thinks the corner is attached. In
Sunset/Sunrise, with my phantom fingertip I touch my lover in another world.
Yael Kanarek‘s (b. 1967, United States) work has also been exhibited at Exit Art, The Kitchen, The
Drawing Center, American Museum of the Moving Image, Sala Uno Gallery, K-99, Nelly Aman, Beral
Madra Contemporary Art, bitforms gallery nyc and Seoul, Rhizome openMouse, Kenny Schacter,
Silverstein Gallery, Ronald Feldman Gallery, A.I.R Gallery, Tribes Gallery, 303 Gallery, Moving Image
Gallery, Schroeder Romero Gallery, Momenta Art, SIGGRAPH, Vancouver New Forms Festival,
VideoZone2 Biennial, Sao Paulo FILE: Electronic Language International Festival, Boston CyberArts
Festival, Electronic Arts Festival in Italy, Seoul Net & Film Festival, 8th Israeli Internet Conference,
Colgate College, Viper Festival, Kleine Humboldt Galerie at Humboldt University, Cantor Center at
Stanford University, traAce conference, FIAC International Art Fair, Pulse London, and Gramercy
International Art Fair.
Kanarek was awarded the Rockefeller Foundation’s Renew Media Fellowship to create Object of
Desire, the third chapter from World of Awe. Recently an artist in residence at Harvestworks, Kanarek
created a collaborative album “Bit by Bit, Cell by Cell” released in 2005 by Innova Recordings. In 2002
the SFMOMA commissioned the second World of Awe chapter “Destruction & Mending”. In 2003
Turbulence.org commissioned ”Portal,” an interactive net.dance that is also part of the World of Awe
Internet artwork. Selected for the 2002 Whitney Biennial, she has received grants from the Jerome
Foundation, Foundation for the Arts, and The Alternative Museum and the recipient of the Netizens
Webprize in addition to the CNRS/UNESCO Lewis Carroll Prix Argos in France. She is currently an
honorary senior fellow at Eyebeam. Kanarek is the founder of Upgrade! International-a network of
gatherings concerning art, technology and culture (theupgrade.net).