Base-Level gallery, Wien-Austria
Solo exhibition - Gidon Levin Discussing the memory as a physical space related to the artist experience serving the Israeli army.
"21.22.23" is the first solo exhibition of Gidon Levin, a recent honours graduate of the photography department of Bezalel Academy of Art Design, Jerusalem (Israel).
In this exhibition Gidon presents two series of works that trace his intense memories and experiences of serving as a parachutist in the Israeli Defence Forces. In the first series of work, "21.22.23", he searches to retrace his memories and physically mark them in the same locations where he did his recruit training. By giving his memories a physical presence in space and time, he manipulates their scale to give them a more palpable reality.
Desert spaces are retraced with a unique positioning of "brain-like" forms. These forms are made of starch soaked army uniforms. They are placed according to the artist's recollections of movements, physical exercises and other army training positions. Gidon's photographic series grows from the art installations he makes in the desert. He uses photography as a documentary medium, chronicling his installations, reviving and recapturing his military memories.
In his second series of work "Porcelain Dolls. Gidon follows a group of new conscripts during their grueling basic training that took place during winter 2011. A few years before, he experienced the same backbreaking physical training. In this series he succeeds to catch with his camera what Henrie Cartier Bresson calls the "decisive moment" - by freezing that crucial moment in which everything happens. Gidon shoots these mud boy soldiers, freezes them in action and makes them into porcelain dolls - Action Men without their organic and functioning bodies.
This synthetic act recalls the CsO (Le Corps-sans-Organes). A concept developed and discussed by the French post-structuralists philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. The CsO implies the body to be a clean board, in which the passion flows freely.
The organs do not function as one entity; rather they move without coordination with each other - no targets and no destinations. This expresses metaphorically immanent and intense passion. To us, as spectators, Gidon implies his unconscious willingness to free his mind and empty it from memories, thoughts and disturbances. Just living in a free space where everything flows and floats, no present, past or future – just pure passion.