Yael Davids

Art Center

Fri 29 Nov 2014 at 5:30 pm

A Variation on A Reading that Writes

with André van Bergen and Sivan Medioni


Mixing her personal story and her interest for Yvonne Rainer’s work, the artist elaborates a performance that articulates around movement and voice, that explores the use of narration and emotion as a way to express formal and political positions.

For this exhibition Yael Davids has come up with an installation using her usual equipment – rope, a staircase, glass panels, black cloth partitions – as stage materials for conjuring up the vocabulary of Minimalism. Her personal and professional paths are dotted with contacts with the history of the Judson Theater and Yvonne Rainer. For Rainer, as for Davids, the body as a terrain of conflict and contradiction at the junction of the private and the public, is at the very heart of artistic practice. Davids’s interest in Rainer also includes the parallel between performance and lived experience, the way the individual or social body occupies a space, and the use of narration and emotion for expressing radical political and formal positions. In her examination of the way this heritage, indirectly handed on to her by her mother, is rooted in her affective and bodily memory, Davids sets out to activate her installation through a performance mingling speech, movement and handling of objects, in collaboration with two associates.


In the script of A Reading that Writes – a Physical Act, Yael Davids describes the landscape around the kibbutz where she grew up. We learn that this was the site of a Palestinian village whose inhabitants were forced to move and their houses left abandoned. Accompanied by André van Bergen and woman dancer Sivan Medioni, Davids brings her installation to life with poses and bodily
movements through space, while reciting her script. Dictated by the arrangement of the objects in the room, her movements outline transitions from the horizontal to the vertical and vice versa. At the same time the glass plates are moved about and made opaque with paint, transforming the configuration of the space and echoing the reading of the text.


Sparing in its movements and constantly engaging with the concept of performance, Yael Davids’s work addresses the narrative potential inherent in the acts of documentation and repetition. “I am a repetition. I repeat my previous performance. It becomes a score and step by step I follow in my own footsteps, detecting step by step the moments and things that have not been named.” Highly personal and poetic, her installations and performances set out to shape our memory of the ephemeral and the fleeting. Merging the conflictual political history of a growing nation with a personal biography marked by loss and grieving, they confront
presence and absence, movement and speech. For this artist abstraction is a powerful, subtle language, the only one capable of attaining to that ultimate, infinitely distant point represented by absence and loss.



With the assistance of the Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers.


This exhibition has been organised in association with Pontbriand W.O.R.K.S and the Jeu de Paume, with the assistance of the Getty Research Institute and Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, with the support of Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture and the Mondriaan Fund.




infos pratiques