Orit Hofshi: Pulse

Wilfrid Israel Museum, HaZore'a, Israel

Pulse is inspired by the current dispute between Palestinians and Jewish settlers on the West Bank over access to natural springs, important water sources in an arid place. The subject is topical, but as always Hofshi’s aim reaches beyond nationalist or sectarian concerns—to “refer more broadly to difficult historical events,” she says, “in a universal human context.”  


The installation at the Wilfrid Israel Museum, includes three large works: Aurora, Laver and Doubt, each depicting various natural water sources. At at 8 ½ x 12 x 1 ¼ feet, Aurora is the smallest of them. Lit from behind, the translucent handmade Kozo and Abaca paper glows with Hofshi’s image of a narrow, dry nahal or wadi (a seasonal riverbed) with rocky outcroppings on either side. In Doubt, a blackened bas-relief wood carving is placed to the left of a horizontal relief print that shows two people navigating a marshland. In the mammoth Laver, two oversized woodcut prints flank 12 carved-and-inked woodblock panels, altogether depicting a desolate landscape of waste-strewn rocks with 3 small springs of water in the center-right vertical plane. (In ancient Israel, a laver was a basin containing water for ritual ablutions). The bottom panels, depicting the largest and most prominent of the water pools, jut into the room at a slope, as if offering the viewer to step into the composition. An audio track by Roy Yamaguchi, commissioned for the project, fills the space with sounds of footsteps on the earth, a heartbeat, heavy breathing, clanging and scraping, overlaid with wind, rain, distant thunder and sonorous bells. 


Time is a dominant element in many of Hofshi’s works, both present, past and historic times. Encouraging the evaluation of our values and beliefs in relationship to our short mortal lives. As in the work Doubt, Hofshi’s frequent depiction of isolated figures refers primarily to the notion people need to face challenges, as well as the consequences of their actions and decisions as individuals.

May 17, 2019
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