with Eli Petel,
When I work with markers, the main concept [that interests me] is the fact that you can’t go back, you can’t erase. On the one hand, you’re doing something that’s nearly sacred, but on the other hand, you’re working with something that’s going to disappear. This tension, between being very precise and knowing that this piece will fade, creates something very strong between me and the image. -Artist Eliyahu Fatal
We are pleased to invite you to view a new video profile about the work and practice of artist Eliyahu Fatal (Eli Petel). In the video, Eliyahu discusses the nuances of identity, class, and culture in Israel as themes and material that he works with in his varied art practice, which spans painting, sculpture, sound, video, and prints.
Eliyahu discusses his video work, Torso Charlie (2021), as an example of the complex ways identity is experienced in Israel. In the work, a sculpture of a torso is animated and dancing. On the surface of the body, there are scenes playing from the popular Israeli film, Charlie VaChezi (Charlie and a Half, 1974). In the work, Eliyahu evokes ways that individuals are defined by the society they live in, and explores the ways that culture dictates identity.
Eliyahu also shares early and recent exhibitions that mark critical moments in his practice. “Nine in the Dark” at Dvir Gallery in Tel Aviv (2009) presented a series of metal sculptures of Hebrew letters, constructed in a way that resembles origami paper folding techniques. The works in the show juxtapose traditional, Judaica forms and a modernist approach to artmaking. More recently, “Since the Measurements Have Begun,” presented at the Bat Yam Museum of Art (2021) explored the dynamic between interiors and exteriors as a metaphor to talk about an individual’s position in society. Reflecting on this exhibition, Eliyahu describes identity as an individual’s relationship to cultural contexts such as religion and class.
In the Studio with Eliyahu Fatal (Eli Petel), is part of a series of artist video profiles featuring artists based in Israel who are recipients of the Artis Grant for Exceptional Work in Uncertain Times. The video was created by Artis, edited and directed by Ian Sternthal, and produced by Sternthal Books. All rights reserved by Artis, 2022.