Braha L. Ettinger
Israel / France
Underwater: Eurydice – Pieta
1. Ein-Raham – Eurydice. Videoart lm, HD, loop, 19 min 57 sec, 2014 [2012]
2. MaMemento Fluidus – MaMedusa. Videoart lm, HD, loop, 25 min 53 sec, 2014 [2012]
3. Ein-Raham – Crazy Woman. Videoart lm, HD, loop, 16 min 06 sec, 2014 [2012]
Courtesy of the artist
Water carries us. Water rocks us. Water puts us to sleep. Water gives us back our mother.
Gaston Bachelard. Water and Dreams

Closed-in water takes death into its bosom.
Gaston Bachelard. Water and Dreams

For certain souls, water is the matter of despair.
Gaston Bachelard. Water and Dreams

Quand Orphée descend vers Eurydice, l'art est la puissance par laquelle s'ouvre la nuit. La nuit, par la force de l'art, l'accueille, devient l'intimité accueillante, l'entente et l'accord de la première nuit. Mais c'est vers Eurydice qu'Orphée est descendu : Eurydice est, pour lui, l'extrême que l'art puisse atteindre, elle est, sous un nom qui la dissimule et sous un voile qui la couvre, le point profondément obscur vers lequel l'art, le désir, la mort, la nuit semblent tendre. Elle est l'instant ou l'essence de la nuit s'approche comme l'autre nuit.
Maurice Blanchot, Le regard d'Orphée

Bracha L. Ettinger is an artist, psychoanalyst, and a theoretician of feminism. Three of her works, united into a video-triptych or a trilogy, are presented at this exhibition. Their main characters: a crazy woman, Eurydice, and Medusa, can be interpreted as the artist's alter ego and also as mythologemes associated with femininity as well as personal and historical traumas. For all that, the crazy woman (drawn outline with the head to the side) is a human image in a borderline state, traumatized, as if trying to recall what happened to her, some- thing her mind is unable to digest and identify with. Eurydice is a symbol of unrequited love and loss. According to the legend, Orpheus lost his beloved the first time, then descended into the nether world to retrieve her but lost her again when, contrary to the strict prohibition, he turned around to make sure she was following him. And finally there is Medusa who used to be a beautiful maiden, according to one of the versions of this ancient myth, then was turned into a monster by the goddess Athena. She is a contradictory, dubious figure, a victim and murderer at the same time who finally meets her death. In the process of creating this trilogy Ettinger employed various historical facts and materials, including photographs of mothers with children before the execution by the Nazi, and also some facts from her own family history. Many of Ettinger's relatives were imprisoned in concentration camps during the Second World War, and her aunt perished on a boat burnt and sunk by the Nazi. The artist herself participated in rescuing the passengers of a boat burnt and sunk during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. Hence is the motif of the water element with its deadliness and its life-giving power which is always present in Ettinger's works and in her research. Hence is also the visual setting in her works bringing to mind the owing water surface or fluid liquid which is both concrete and abstract, where archival frames are interspersed with ultrasound pictures. Ettinger quotes from Gaston Bachelard who says, "Water revives our mother's image for us" and "receives the dead in its embrace." To this she adds: "Perhaps when the angel of History is seized with helplessness amidst post-catastrophe ruins we can appeal to the angel of Art who is pining for human, non-dominant ways of trust among people in order to succumb to that inspiring transparency in respect which is not subordination."
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