“If only we would alleviate all forces, not clenching our fists, if we can loosen all gripping, we would then spread our wings. […] For from our falls we rise and from the inmost depths sore towards the sky” Bini Landau
What is the meaning of the immense power and passionate energy that are so massive and evident in the works of Nitza Genosar? What is the secret of the cryptic riddle that is concealed within each of her works, either two or three dimensional – works that often unveil more than they uncover.
Throughout her life, Nitza Genosar served as an investigator in the Ministry of Defense, having to assimilate, internalize and conceal. This retrospective exhibition, taking place at Machon Ha’Maim art gallery and adding to the experience of Genosar’s previous successful exhibition at the Artists House TLV, illustrates how Genosar truly spreads her wings and, openly and for all to see, flies towards new worlds of momentum and creation.
In a series of sculptures that engages with the female body, Genosar joins the classical female figure with the body of other mythical creatures, therefore providing, to some extent, a partial answer to the aforementioned contemplations. These mythical, yet, realistically sculptured creatures immediately connote a strong sense of identification with the strength of the female image and the need to acknowledge her complete autonomy. This series dialogues with classical and well-known myths that often originate in folktales. Such tales illustrate imaginative creatures whose body is a hybridization of human and animal bodies. In Chronicles, for example, it is told that Maacah, King Asa’s mother, created a monstrous figure whose meaning remains ambiguous. In the Talmud, the great Amora-Rava explains that the statue had a phallus that Maacah would use for purposes of ritualistic masturbation. Either way, Genosar’s powerful figurative female sculptures inspire a strong sense of presence, further giving rise to infinite imaginative thoughts in the heart of the viewer. The figure of the Minotaur, Pegasus—the winged horse—,the Centaur, part man and part horse and, naturally, the Sphinx with a lion’s body, the wings of a bird and the head of a woman are the true sources of inspiration for Nitza Genosar’s work.
In a different series of sculptures, Genosar deals with abstract sculpting. Creating a series of white sculptures that resemble fragments of various body parts, these sculptures are characterized by the crevices Genosar creates – gaps that ensues from within the body and face the outside world. Genosar’s abstract sculptures correspond with modern sculptures and artists who engage in ceramic sculpting; they appear as models of monuments – designed to be situated at the heart of urban squares.
Alongside her female sculptures—the seated woman, the lying woman, the woman with her hands over her head, the female portraits—Genosar also sculpts male figures. The man with the turban, as one prominent example, connects us to figures from neighboring Eastern countries or, perhaps, draws on images of traditional Jews. It creates strong empathy and identification. Yet another sculpture from the male series is the shouting man that, almost instantaneously, connotes the image of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. Two installations can also add to this series: the first is an installation of bodies wrapped in praying shawls, resembling an assembly of people who pray. The second is an installation of bodies with female heads.
Of Genosar’s complete body of works, the colorful series is the most optimistic and assertive. This series comprises sculptures of flowers and other plants in spectacular colors of, mostly, red, yellow and blue – colors that are not characteristics of Genosar’s work. The force of the sculptures emanates from their immense beauty and the utopian approach Genosar undertook while creating them.
The exhibition further includes Genosar’s two-dimensional works. When painting and sketching, it appears Genosar is out on an intriguing and rather personal voyage of exploration and creative pondering; trying various styles, examining different sources of inspiration, candidly creating whatever her heart and imagination yield. The quintessence of her advantage is expressed in her strong sketching ability: Genosar sketches various spaces, illustrating a play of light and shadow, shape and structure, explicit and concealed drama. The secret and the ambiguous meaning behind each of her works serve as the connecting thread linking one work to the other. Some of her works insinuate to a human factor that becomes part of the space Genosar paints: amongst her paintings, one can find a clothes-rack that turns into the painting’s principle figure, therefore enhancing a sense of loneliness and estrangement.
In two new feminine paintings Genosar deals with the issue of women’s empowerment. The first painting offers Genosar’s own interpretation of the term “wonder woman”. The second painting illustrates traditional symbols, and it was sent to the exhibition “Beyond the Veil” that was presented this year in Venice in honor of the 59th Art Biennale. The last series depicts landscapes, and it is romantic and uniquely pastoral.
In this current exhibition, taking place at Machon Ha’Maim, Nitza Genosar is indeed spreading her wings, proving she has no intention of pausing, but, instead, continue creating with all her might and by employing different mediums. The course of Genosar’s life has not been easy, and it is possible that the language of art is best suited for engaging and interpreting, in the current present, either explicitly or in a concealed manner, the materials Genosar has accumulated throughout her life. This exhibition is an opening to the multifarious and ongoing artistic activity of Nitza Genosar whose work is destined to leave its viewers wanting more.
Doron Polak / Curator