Opening Reception: Saturday, September 20 6pm to 8pm
Transformer presents a multi-media installation by Brooklyn-based Israeli artist Tamar Ettun, showcasing a selection of sculpture, photographs, performance, and video. Investigating the roles of sculpture and performance, the works exhibited explore these mediums’ conceptual capabilities, examining their ability to stimulate a physical reaction or sensation within the viewer when their functions are interchanged.
My Hands are the Shape of My Height at Transformer stems from Performing Stillness, a series Ettun continues to develop, constructed from fragments of casted body parts that continue to grow in size and complexity, investigating the physical body and the world around us. Obscuring the relationship between objects by breaking, assembling, and distorting their appearance, Ettun transforms these objects into unique works with abstracted narratives contrived through their newfound stillness.
Sourcing familiar, functional objects that have been discarded, Ettun reconstructs materials, stripping the original object of its use and meaning. “The sculptures and performances reflect two sides of my philosophy about movement and stillness, temporality and permanence,” explains Ettun. “I attempt to invert the two – the performances investigate the ability to be still and durational, and the sculptures capture the most gestural, brief movements.”
Influenced by the recent war in Israel, Ettun has begun to explore the physical symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in her work. PTSD manifests itself in a number of ways – bodily movement, hyper arousal, extreme fear, and flash backs, among several other affects. “I was amazed to find out that one of the symptoms of PTSD is the inability to feel empathy towards others and increased difficulty forming relationships,” explains Ettun. “I want to convey the bodily imprints of trauma by casting clothes and gloves that embody physical gestures: the body is absent and what is left is the memory of the movement. Clothes and gloves protect and cover our bodies from the outside world; here, they serve as an empty shell, evidence of the event.”
It’s Not a Question of Anxiety, Ettun’s video piece in the exhibition, was conceived while investigating how personal and religious rituals function similarly to sculpture and movement: both fixed and unchanging, though their existence is essentially ephemeral. “Personal rituals are often the result of personal trauma, and this video highlights this,” explains Ettun. “Personal rituals may seem pointless to the external onlooker, but like religious rituals, they have meaning when seen from the inside.” This video is a series of ‘made-up’ personal, formal actions of bodies and objects, and is structured similarly to the Performing Stillness series, playing with colors, masses and obscured shapes.
Tamar Ettun is a Brooklyn-based multimedia artist from Jerusalem, Israel. Ettun received her MFA from Yale University in 2010 where she was awarded the Alice English Kimball Fellowship. Ettun studied at Cooper Union in 2007, while earning her BFA from Bezalel Academy. Ettun’s solo exhibition and performances include: NADA NYC with Artis (2014); One and One, One and Two, One and Three, One and Four, at Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv (2014); The Lion Who Liked Strawberries, PS3 Studio, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas commissioned by Art Production Fund (2013); One Thing Leads To Another, Indianapolis Museum of Art (2013), and Performa 11 presented by RECESS (2011), One Thing Leads To Another: Part 2; Andrea Meislin Gallery (2012); Empty Is Also, in collaboration with Emily Coates for Performa 09 presented by the X-Initiative (2009). She has been honored by several organizations including The Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, MacDowell Fellowship, Abron’s Art Center, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Art Production Fund, Socrates Sculpture Park, America Israel Cultural Foundation, The World Performance Project, Artis, Yale School of Art, RECESS, and Triangle Workshop Residency.
- Wednesday – Saturday, noon – 6pm
- and by appointment
Transformer is located at 1404 P Street, NW. For more information visit www.transformerdc.org.