with Alona Harpaz and Corinne Kitzis
Harpaz blurs the boundaries between the personal and the impersonal,the public and the private and the intimate and the alien. Using industrial material as well as acrylic on canvas, Harpaz paints with bold
lines and illuminating colors, women and animal figures juxtaposed against organic images and other abstract paintings. Those self portraits, alongside portraites of family members, magazine models and iconic famous personas like the olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci bear a resemblance to each other. In these settings, Harpaz's female characters inhabit in the same approachable, yet glorified place: they are famous and anonymous, inviting, yet untouchable. Harpaz’s technics set the platform for sphere blending: these women, usually naked— are exposed to the viewer’s gaze while staring back at him. The gaze relationship (a widely studied method in the discipline of art history) that could have emerged between Harpaz’s women and the viewer is interrupted by the painter; the women’s eyes are covered by spray paint. The aimed interruption of the potential gaze interactions gives these women power to resist the voyeur gaze of the viewer.
Kitzis, in her installation and video “The Art of a Housewife” grapples with similar questions. Appropriating the 90’s talk-show format, Kitzis creates a whole imaginary world. With humor and honesty, Kitzis offers the viewer a glimpse to the daily world of many families. In her talk show, Kitzis plays both the guest and the host characters— in this case, the unsatisfied housewife and a generic self-care guro. Inspired by Lacanian psychoanalyst Esther Perel, Kitzis sells in her talk show a product to every couple suffering from an unhappy marriage life: The “Roleplay 2000”. Her work is deeply involved in the method of boundary blurring: the hosts and the unhappy couple are both played
by the artist and her real life partner. Kitzis turns the gallery space into a generic all american 90’s living room. The living room, made mostly from cardboard, gives the viewer a peek into the most private sphere. Far from the public eyes, between the living room walls, the place where inspiration is missing, dreams are dying, and compromises are made. In using talk show stage props as living room furniture, Kitzis mixes both worlds; the clear boundaries between the talk show studio and the unhappy couple living room is torn down.
During the 1970’s, revolutionary feminists of the second wave demanded to remove the boundaries between what they termed the public and the private sphere. The works of Harpaz and Kitzis are a
response to a new age. In this new neoliberal age, those spheres amalgamated to a whole new being. In their work, Harpaz and Kitzis explore the state of femininity in a time where the words ‘private’ and ‘public’ carry a new, fluid meaning. A world in which everything is personal and impersonal simultaneously.