Keynote – Tirtzah Bassel
Saturday June 2, 6pm
On View: June 2 – September 2018
Tirtzah Bassel has created a site specific (and event-specific!) installation using duct tape in The Skirt: OyG's site specific installation space. In a culture increasingly propelled by personal branding, Bassel is interested in moments of congregation and the search for a deeper sense of connection and transcendence. Using the audience of a star-studded gala as subject, “Keynote” is an immersive installation depicting enraptured members of a crowd as they listen to the keynote speaker. Their uplifted gazes are directed at the center of the space, effectively situating the viewer as the subject of their attention. Bassel’s expressive use of duct tape to render the figures speaks to the evanescent nature of these cultural moments, while the painted elements of the mural imply deeper social and political structures at play.
Bassel explores the tension between anonymity and individuality, highlighting the desire for closeness and recognition that often drives our performances in real and virtual encounters. Inspired by work such as Marlene Dumas’ “Chlorosis” and the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an, China, Bassel uses the traditional genre of portraiture in conjunction with the obscurity of a crowd to allow a sense of intimacy to unfold, even within the monumental scale of her work. Engaging the line between painting and sculpture, Bassel uses duct tape and paint to create an exciting visual vocabulary that probes the borders between public and private spheres, implicating the viewer in a relationship to the work that is both as shared and as personal as the spaces that it considers.
Tirtzah Bassel is an Israeli artist based in New York. Her drawings, paintings and site-responsive installations explore the relationships between power and space, and the permeable borders between public and private domains. Recent exhibition venues include Kunstverein Worms, Germany (2017), Volta NY (2017), FOR-SITE Foundation, California (2016), BRIC Arts Media Center, Brooklyn (2016), The Visual Arts Center, New Jersey (2015), Slag Gallery, Brooklyn (2014, 2015), Open Source Gallery, Brooklyn (2015), The Firehouse Plaza Art Gallery at Nassua Community College, New York (2015) and Volta Basel, Switzerland (2015). Her work has appeared in Hyperallergic, Frieze Magazine, The Boston Globe, KQED, San Fransisco Chronicle, The Art Newspaper, Huffington Post, Arts in Bushwick and Al Jezeera English, among others. Tirtzah holds an MFA from Boston University and she studied drawing and painting at the Jerusalem Studio School in Israel. She is assistant director of the Brandeis Institute of Music and Art at Brandeis University and a resident artist in the Chashama Workspace Program in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Tirtzah is represented by Slag Gallery in Brooklyn and Galerie Thomas Fuchs in Stuttgart.