ARTEMIS ALCALAY The River 2004 [A] - x +
AlcA2004rive


CN: AlcA2004rive

MT: installation: wood, paper mache, and cotton ribbon (H:200 / BOX:39x25x15)

TX: incised and painted on front of box <3045 B / G A R / PIRAEUS>, at top of box <12 ½ KILOS // GROWN AND PACKED / IN / CALIFORNIA / U.S.A. // 50-60>, at bottom box <12 ½ KILOS / ARCADIAN BRAND / SPECIALLY SELECTED / SANTA CLARA PLUMES>

DN: Ms. Artemis Alcalay - 2006

LC: ACG - Attica Tradition Educational Foundation, Athens

CM: The River is part of the series entitled Remebrance, which generally deals with a trans-temporal past of Alcalay's family. In her art Alcalay uses found materials which are poor in value but immensely rich in allegory. The River combines a box, a pair of soles, and a ribbon. The box was used to contain plums, to transport them by ship, and was discovered in an old Athenian warehouse. Consequently this box is rich in memory. On it's top side are based two soles of the feet of a 'kouros', the statue of a male youth dating from the archaic period of Greek sculpture. Typical of the kouros statues, the one foot is ahead of the other, in the act of striding forward. This gesture in relation to the position of the feet, which at first seems to be insignificant, was a radical break from the past and revolutionized sculpture for ever. Such feet emblematize the perpetual way forward, the eternal flow of things in life, and an everlasting journey. These feet have a religious or ritualistic character which is not possible to pin down. As in the case of the ancient types, there is an ambiguity regarding the identity of this kouros, whether it represents a god or a man. With The River, Alcalay refers to an archetypal image of man, spanning from kouros, through Christ and 'tamata', to contemporary man. A red ribbon spans the height of the kouros' absent body and meets his soles at its fall. In its red color this ribbon is perceived by Alacaly to be a river of flowing blood. Being the focal point of the composition, it has lent its name to the title of this artwork. Such a 'river' emblematizes continuity, time, and life, which binds people together through the ages. Accoridng to Alcalay, "we are all connected as if the 'ribbon' we hold on to were a baton to be passed from hand to hand". Alcalay claims this ribbon to be the result of 9,000 years of experience with the art of weaving, which is par excellence a feminine activity. According to a Greek saying "the work with the loom is life and its un-weaving is death". The River then could well serve as a bridge between life and death. The combination of elements - disparate though they are in terms of space, time, feel and appearance - create a harmonious whole. The River is endowed with a metaphysical charge of unfathomable quality. In this respect the meaning of The River is like the depth of the soul that is endless. Consequently, The River resembles the case of the kouros, which remains under the veil of age-old mystery.

[Megakles Rogakos 09/2006]

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