“The book in front of you was created following the exhibition The Cuckoo Clock by Vered Aharonovitch, curated by Dr. Aya Lurie, which was displayed at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art between September 2019 and January 2020. The exhibition featured a large-scale kinetic installation, the central part of which was a house built as Aharonovich's childhood home. Through the windows and doors of the house, viewers could peek inside, and see the events taking place in it and the various figures who lived inside it, who were also inspired by Aharonovich's family. Next to the house a few trees were set - on one hung a swing with an old woman sitting on it. On another, a wooden house was built, in which a father and daughter aimed a rifle at the roof of the house, and on the branches of the third tree, a girl with bird wings was placed, watching the roof of a shelter beside which a grave for a pet rabbit was dug.
Among the various scenes that took place inside In the house, one could find a worried mother looking from the window to the street, not knowing what or whom she was expecting, a woman who was perhaps sinking, perhaps drowning herself in the bathtub, or a girl listening to the heartbeat of a father lying on the living room sofa. Hidden engines were attached to some of the components of the installation, which allowed the cyclical, endless and futile movement of objects and figures, while evoking thoughts of time, maturation and ageing, of life and death: the father running nowhere on a hamster wheel attached to the wall of the house, a woman repeatedly plucking greying hairs from her scalp, or a convoy of family members leaving the house, surrounding and returning to it - led by the figure of a grandmother holding a black garbage bag, which never reaches its destination.
The thing with exhibitions is, of course, that at some point they are no more. This is true for any exhibition, and even more so for an installation, whose chances of being presented in the same way again are very low to nil. And so, here too, at the end of the exhibition period, the house was dismantled, and its parts were packed in boxes stored in Aharonovich's studio - without knowing if they would ever see light again.
The desire to create and carry through the experience of the exhibition in the world - an experience of movement and franticness, along with intrusiveness and invasion of privacy - took shape in the form of this book: a pop-up book, which embodies something of the three-dimensionality of a sculptural installation, while allowing the reader a very personal and intimate experience. In addition, and as a continuation of what is happening in the exhibition, here the book itself requires us not only to take a closer look - but to take an active and real part in the movement that it offers, while we are asked to pull, open or fold its various parts, to find out what happens in it and dictate its mode of operation. Hence, the book in front of you is not a documentation of the exhibition, but a complex and developed continuation of it: while in the exhibition we are unable to touch the artistic object, here it is permitted and even desirable. And if in the exhibition we could only peek inside the house for a few moments - then now we get to bring the whole exhibition into our own home, forever.
Those who have followed Aharonovitch's work in recent years mostly know her as a sculptor. The Cuckoo Clock exhibition was also, certainly, a sculptural exhibition. But Aharonovich began her artistic career as a painter and came to sculpture after completing her master's degree at the University of Haifa. Aharonovitch says that she then lifted by herself the statue she created, and in order to carry it she found herself embraced with the sculpted figure. This intimate contact first evoked thoughts about the physical relationship between a person and a statue - where one can touch it, caress it, pricked by it.
In this book, Aharonovitch seems to complete the circle: it begins with a sculptural exhibition, where the scenes depicted in the book are taken from the rooms of the house presented in the exhibition. But its ending goes back to the painting: all the images that appear before you were painted by Aharonovitch after and following the exhibition, and were created especially for the book. The spatial perception made possible by a pop-up book, along with the integral flatness of painting allows Aharonovich to bind colour with volume, movement with mass, and image with space. In doing so, the book becomes an artistic object in itself, and every reading of it brings it to life: it becomes a home.”
paper engineer - Oran Schneider
design - Avigail Reiner (The Studio)
LinksPurchase the book - SHOP
The Cuckoo Clock Book - YouTube
The Cuckoo Clock Exhibition - YouTube