April 19, 2007
April 13, 2007

Curated by
Ruti Direktor

  • Group Exhibition

The exhibition whose title has been extracted from the kitchen, sets out to serve the terms “raw” and “cooked” as a proposal for art observation. The terms themselves were borrowed from French anthropologist Claude Lèvi-Strauss, who published his studies about Native-American mythology in the 1960s. The first in his four-volume Mythologiques series, The Raw and the Cooked explored myths pertaining to the transition from raw food to cooked food as a symbolic transition from nature to culture, as a formative phase toward civilization.

In recent decades, however, the status of the raw and the cooked has been undermined as binary concepts contrasting the wild and the civilized: the new raw (sushi of sorts, raw fish, steak Tartar, carpaccio…) is a challenging, sophisticated raw. As in the culinary context, it takes a refined and skilled palate to relish the unique qualities of the artistic raw, which is often embodied by minimalist or seemingly crude artistic manifestations, unprocessed, not done and not baked, as it were.

While binary thought is considered less and less relevant today, the beauty of the notions “raw” and “cooked” nevertheless remains intact, and their metaphorical nature still tempts one to apply them to other fields; to examine them in relation to art, and see where such a move leads: to speak in culinary terms while observing art.

The five artists participating in the exhibition present a wide spectrum of raw and cooked – through all degrees of fluidity and liquidness extending in between them. The “raw” instances are embodied by Orna Bromberg’s paintings, which appear child-like and entirely unmediated, as well as by Barak Ravitz’s videos and objects, which contain ostensibly minimal intervention on the part of the artist. Differentiated cases of “well-done” art, on the other hand, are found in Tal Shochat’s meticulously staged photographs (presented as a totality, as a casserole…), in Reuven Israel’s scrupulously-processed sculptural objects, and in Sima Meir’s Formica plates bearing embroidery patterns industriously painted in marker.

Ultimately, as expected in contemporary manifestations of art that reject dichotomous thought patterns, the raw blends with the cooked, the simple looking is not at all such. The masquerading as something else disrupts the cleanliness of the binary pair, becoming the elusive common denominator of all the works in the exhibition.

Ruti Direktor

Selected Works:

Four girls and a bird, 2004

Walking girls and upside-down queen, 2001

A dancer and flowers, 2005

Exhibition Catalog:

Ruti Direktor

University of Haifa, Faculty of Humanities, The Art Gallery,
January 19, 2007