Photos: Tal Nisim
Reut Asimini: Mia and I
Curator: Irena Gordon
There would have been a time for such a word.
To–morrow, and to–morrow, and to–morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
[ William Shakespeare, Macbeth ]
In the last year and a half, the passage of time has confronted us as an entity, at times slowing down to a halt, at times accelerating as in a roller coaster; what we do in our life, including the creation of art works, has also alternatingly slowed and accelerated. The COVID pandemic has allowed or forced us to look at things, to pull them away from the blindness and automatism of the everyday and acknowledge them, if only momentarily.
Reut Asimini captures this time and its elusive existence in her body of work Mia and I. As a multidisciplinary artist who constantly responds to daily life events, on March 15, 2020, the days of the first Covid-19 lockdown, she began to upload a diaristic sketchbook to her Facebook account. The initial shock was replaced by a fantastic, documentary response to the new reality of isolation and closure, distance from the studio, intense stay with an 18–month old baby, and increased news consumption.
All of these forced her to focus on the basic medium of pencil drawing; to express, on an almost daily basis, the effect of the situation on her feelings and thoughts, and especially her relationship with her daughter. Many of the drawings incorporate the baby׳s initial scribbles, from which she draws inspiration, in a dialogue of sorts. ״The body of drawings is divided into two,״ says Asimini. ״One spans drawings I created by myself, and the other—joint drawings created with my daughter, without her knowledge. The multiple drawings she scribbled during the day, and my maternal infatuation with them and with her, made me want to decipher her innocent lines and try to translate them. Every evening I would sit with her pile of drawings and check whether I see anything in them, so that my drawing was a continuation of hers. The COVID pandemic is a global historical event, but for me it will also be remembered as a personal and intimate event.״
Some seventy of these drawings selected for the exhibition—and many others, which she has created in the past year and a half—refer and respond to the period, but at the same time, they present a confrontation with broader issues that come into sharper focus in such times. They disintegrate and reconstruct the symbiosis of the parental bond between mother and daughter, pursuing the inner voice emanating from the triple role of woman–artist–mother. The texts accompanying the drawings, which appeared in Facebook, add another dimension of existence as well as interpretation: ״After you went to bed״; Suddenly short lines appeared״ ;״You are trapped in your drawing.״
The drawings deal with horror and anxiety, fear and uncertainty, but at the same time they are full of humor, playfulness, and self–irony. Drawing becomes an act of survival, enabling Asimini to come to terms with mental, emotional, and psychological difficulties in life. Through drawing, she summons monsters and nightmares, allowing them to dance on the paper alongside mundane occurrences, which are disconnected from the flow of routine to become exaggerating, duplicating mirrors in which reality is scramble.
At the center of all these is drawing itself, its modi operandi, development paths, its way of leading itself to abstraction, with an inner logic that needs no explanation, while defining things and giving them form. Asimini׳s drawing ranges between the classic shades of gray and a flickering coloration of pastels, pointing to countless worlds of inspiration from classic children׳s books, such as those by Margaret Wise Brown, as well as from art history, between Leonardo da Vinci and Francisco Goya, between Henri Rousseau and Frida Kahlo. At the same time, her drawing ostensibly observes and discovers itself: its being unconscious and childlike; its being survivalist and at the same time free and liberated from all shackles of reason and history.