(Sorry. I couldn’t ge this image to load) Eran Reshef: Gates 2003–2007, oil on panel (courtesy of the Israel Museum)
All art is illusion. But many artists use illusion to undermine the idea that there is a single Truth. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, has kicked off its summer season with an exhibition in the Ruth Youth Wing called ArTricks.
Despite the location of the exhibition and the fact that it can be appreciated by children (probably from age five or six), “there is nothing childish about it,” said curator Daniella Shalev. In all the works shown, “the illusion is a means, not an end.”
The 80 works predictably include an abundance of familiar pieces by Escher: birds that turn into fish, two hands sketching each other, impossible sets of stairs. But there is much more. Many of the works are by Israeli artists, including a painting of a dilapidated bathroom that is so realistic it seems one could walk right in (Eran Reshef); a gigantic cauliflower made of polystyrene foam (Michael Sperer); an English landscape made of wool on plywood (Gal Weinstein); and a tire swing in which a link is missing in each of the chains (Orly Hummel).
One room contains a work by Israeli artist Buky Schwartz consisting of an upright black chair and a red chair and a yellow chair painted on the floor. When this combination is projected on the wall, it looks as though all three chairs are standing. Children sit on or “jump off” the painted chairs, and in the projection it all appears to be happening in three dimensions.
In the courtyard of the youth wing, children can choose from among a variety of activities, including cutting Moebius strips, seeing multiple reflections of themselves in paired mirrors, and peeking into an Ames room in which the tilted floor distorts the apparent size of people inside it.
My young companions enjoyed the show. So did I.
Through February 15, 2014.
Text copyright 2013 by Esther Hecht. No part of the text may be used without written permission of the author, or, in the case of the image, written permission of the IsraelMuseum.