Landscape Becoming Portrait
The Jerusalem Artists House
Curated by Nogah Davidson, 2022
The installation of David Frenkel’s exhibition evokes display modes used in museums of natural history. Like them, Frenkel’s works present the animal world in a highly artificial and theatrical fashion. His strategy points at instances of grotesque domestication, only to further radicalize them, mock and expose his own submission to the taxonomic human urge to signify, catalogue, and name everything there is: to find shapes in clouds, to turn landscapes into portraits of ourselves.
Frenkel’s ironic gaze at cultivated nature defies the narrative presenting man as the most noble and intelligent creature on the face of the earth. Frenkel regards the role of the artist as akin to that of the satirical clown who reenacts human conduct as a theater of the self; he is the fool, or the madman, who walks the street and screams out his theories. The exhibition transpires between worlds of seduction and morbidity, science and exoticism, academy and popular culture. Perhaps the clown tells a story that is more true to life than the story told by the educated scholar.
Ballerina / Gali Yelin
They stretch the dead animal's leg
to the most suitable position.
It was not for lack of reason
she was named the Ballerina.
Found to be floating beyond the genre's boundaries,
farther than the rules determined by her weight.
When a small animal passed, she would carry her
beyond the river of the dead. when another was injured,
she defended her from preying wolves.
Still, they had no way of finding out
how we used to dance; that's where dreams originated:
In the jungle, by the sea, at the burning mountain of feet.
With bird music, with drums,
with other animals, as beautiful as wrinkles.
And when we were inside, no animal could stop us.
One and a half tons of selfhood-quivering fur,
the knowledge that we were whole.