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Transitions#4 by Naama Tsabar

  • Kunsthaus Baselland 170 Sankt Jakobs-Strasse Muttenz, BL, 4132 Switzerland (map)

New-York based artist Naama Tsabar adorns the spaces of the Kunsthaus Baselland with an installation comprised of three bodies of work – TransitionWorks On Felt and Barricade. This grouping of works is in a constant shift between the visual and the sonic, the active and the passive.

At first, when one comes down the stairs to the lower floor, the Transition canvases appear to be large-scale paintings or drawings. But instead of pigment, Tsabar uses cables, buttons, connectors and parts from amplifiers and speakers in order to create her sensuous compositions. On the one hand, they are attached simply to the wall; on the other, they still function as amplifiers and speakers and emit sound once activated. Tsabar’s description of choice is ‘sculptural paintings that have the ability to output sound’.

Barricade consists of several microphones arranged in a triangle formation. The microphones’ cables line the floor in a formal composition, reflecting the path of transmitted sound. The spatial arrangement of the microphone mount’s act as both barrier and enabler as the performative space between the microphones is physically limited. The sound picked up within Barricade expands into the different exhibition rooms as each side of the microphone shape feeds directly through a separate Transition canvas located in the first room.

Dispersed in several locations are works from Tsabar’s ongoing Works On Felt series. Much like the Transition canvases the Felt works are between the sculptural and the sonic. By the addition of carbon fiber, piano strings and guitar tuning pegs, the felt gains new features that contradict its natural characteristics. Through their visible materiality and size they engage the body, to be touched, activated, felt. One is immediately confronted with their minimal design and then given a chance to directly engage with the work itself by plucking the strings, creating sounds from them.

For some time Naama Tsabar has been interested in the shift within a given physical space and field of reading that can happen through music and sound. When they are activated Tsabar’s works’ legibility changes, as does the distance between object and subject – when the viewer stops in their tracks to interact with the works and activate them, they breach the borders between their own body and the art object. At once constituting both an intimate and performative relationship with the works and space, Tsabar does not want to present her viewer with work that should be admired only for its visual formal qualities. “I don’t like authority, to be framed – restricted,” says the artist. “These works break the borders that were set for them. They do this by possessing the potential to expand to a different field of action; they are in constant states of transition.”

Making reference to the gender roles and codes of behaviour implicit in the music and club world, in her works and performances Naama Tsabar both pulls into focus the aggressive gestures of rock’n’roll and their associations with masculinity and power and simultaneously undercuts them. Her works function like a filter for the decadence of urban nightlife with all its seductive and subversive facets. Through the energetic and sensory encounter with the works a choreography of movement and sound emerges, which draws in the visitor and extends the work across the whole exhibition space.

A unique performance composed on and in the exhibition will premiere on the 13th of June, at noon, by Tsabar and a group of collaborating musicians.

Naama Tsabar was born in 1982 in Israel. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 2010.

Selected Solo Exhibitions and Performances: Museum of Art and Design, New York (2017-2018); Palais De Tokyo, Paris (2017); Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (2017); High Line, New York (2016); Spinello Projects, Miami (2016); Paramo Gallery, Guadalajara (2016); Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv (2016, 2007); MARTE-C, El Salvador (2015); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014); Frieze Projects, New York (2014); Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv (2013, 2010); Pianissimo Gallery, Milan (2008); and The Herziliya Museum for Contemporary Art, Herziliya (2006).

Selected group exhibitions: Prospect New Orleans 4, New Orleans (2017-2018); Hessel Museum of Art, New York (2018, 2015); Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Sint-Martens-Latem (2017); TM StadTriennale, Hasselt/Genk, (2016) ExtraCity, Antwerp (2011); MoMa PS1, New York (2010); the Fisher Landau Center, New York (2010); The Bucharest Biennale for Young Artists, Bucharest (2008); and Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2008).

Selected Grants: Tsabar is a Three-time recipient of an Artis Grant (2018, 2014, 2010), a two-time recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Grant (2009, 2005), the 2009–2010 recipient of the Joan Sovern Award from Columbia University, and the 2012 Grantee of The Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award;.”

Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Jimenez-Colon, Tel Aviv Museum, Israel Museum and Coleccion Dieresis. Tsabar lives and works in Brooklyn.

Naama Tsabar is represented by Dvir Gallery Tel Aviv/Brussels, Paramo Gallery Guadalajara, Paul Kasmin Gallery New York and Spinello Projects Miami.

For the support of the exhibition of Naama Tsabar, we sincerely thank artis grant program, Ostrovsky family fund, Paramo Gallery, Paul Kasmin Gallery, Dr. Georg und Josi Guggenheim Stiftung, Isaac Dreyfus Bernheim Stiftung, Ruth und Paul Wallach Stiftung, Dvir Gallery and Spinello Projects.