Viva Europa! Inbal Mendes-Flohr,
Koresh 14 Gallery, Jerusalem, March 2016
Curators Vered Hadad & Hili Greenfeld
The first exhibit in the series ‘Artist’s Project’ at the Koresh 14 Gallery. The ‘Artist’s Project’ makes possible a creative greenhouse, in which the Koresh 14 Gallery provides the artist with accompaniment, guidance, a grant, and the time needed to mount a solo exhibit. Four young artists have been selected for the project, and at its conclusion, a catalogue will be launched, accompanying a group exhibit of the participating artists. Project guidence by Hili Greenfeld and Vered Haddad.
The exhibit consists of large, colorful paintings on paper, portraying women rebels and warriors, taken from current affairs and popular culture. Bare chested women from Femen burning ISIS flags, women from the Pink Gulabi Gang who fight against domestic abuse and rape in India, Kurdish and Yazidi women fighters, King Kong with Wonder Woman, and more.
In one of the paintings the mythological figure ‘Europa’ appears riding on a bull. Europa, (“wide faced” in Greek), after which the continent is named, gathered flowers, until Zeus, disguised as a bull, fell in love with her, tempted her, raped her and kidnapped her to Crete, where she turns into a queen. Inbal’s Europa is a black African woman, a migrant, riding on the back of a red bull, the male version of the red heifer, that according to the Halacha, is used for the ritual purification of the contamination of the dead. In this way, Inbal brings Israel into the processes of change of the female presence in Europa. The paintings show women who fight for their rights with wisdom and power, figures admired by the artist. Strong women who respond to a society characterized by violence, racism, sexism and hypocrisy, and react to the primordial violence of Zeus.
The works are painted in a psychedelic way, creating a total experience that overwhelms the senses. On the large paper surfaces, drawn with markers, spray, ink and oil paint in brilliant colors and decorative patterns, a war of temptation and power is waged. The psychedelic chaos relates also to trance music, bringing us back again to the trance that is found in war, in figures full of desire, anger, beauty and pride.
The artist speaks of her unfulfilled rebellious and anarchistic drives that find expression in her paintings. The chaos of the world blends with her personal chaos, leading her own image to merge with the figures she admires.
Inbal Mendes-Flohr, born in 1976, lives and creates in Kiryat Tivon. Graduated at Oranim College (2013) and earned her MFA, at Haifa University (2015). She is a graduate of the art education program at the Israel Museum (2000) and teaches art at the Hof HaCarmel Highschool and at Oranim College. She is a single mother of four. She had a solo exhibit at The Jerusalem Artists’ House (2015) and participated in numerous group exhibits, including at The Herzliya Museum, The Rosh HaNikra Gallery (2014) and The Gavirol Gallery in Tel Aviv and The Art Cube in Jerusalem (2015).
Eitan Buganim on the exhibition