The First Year
The First Year", is a project in which the artist crosses over for the first time from sculpture to performative act. Using wearable objects, Zach carries out a performative ritualistic act rooted in grief and loss, while pointing to the magical possibility to return an essence of vitality to the dying body. Air is used as a material in the creation of sculptural volumes. The blue latex alternates among various forms, veiling identity, and gender, and creating a multi-organs hybrid organism. A recurring act of breathing-resuscitating serves her as a metronome for restoring the human pulse, while also regulating the artwork’s rhythm.
'The First Year' appears in several installations and forms:
In "Kefitzat Haderech", curated by Shlomit Breuer and Shir Meller Yamaguchi at the Wilfrid Israel Museum at Kibbutz Hazorea, it is exhibited as a 4 channels video installation work.
In a group exhibition curated by Tamar Margalit at the CCA Tel Aviv, it is exhibited as a 3 channels video work.
For the Artwall Gallery in Prague, the artist created a dedicated version, of still images for this gallery which is located in the public space of the city, in correlation to the video. The irregular projection on sheets of silicone that resemble translucent skin imbues the space with an enigmatic corporal presence, deliberately undermining the viewer’s ability to distinguish the body from object and image from the material.
The work was produced in support of Mifal Hapais, Asylum Arts, and Artport.
The First Year
Curators: Shlomit Breuer and Shir Meller Yamaguchi
31 March to 30 July 2023
Yaara Zach carries out a ritualistic performative act that emerged/stems from mourning and loss, while pondering about a magical possibility of revitalizing a dying body. Zach creates her own interpretation of mystical Jewish rituals for summoning the dead into one’s dream. A recurring act of breathing-resuscitating serves her as a metronome for restoring the human pulse, while also regulating the artwork’s rhythm.
Addressing the limits of existence, the performance was filmed on the liminal zone between shore and sea. Zach uses air as a material in the creation of sculptural volumes. The blue latex alternates among various forms, veiling identity and gender, and creating a multi-organs industrial-organic hybrid organism. For a brief moment, new organs emerge from it; amorphous volumes that fill with air, and then deflate to once again reveal the human body underneath them. At the heart of the work lies the act of shared breath, where interdependence becomes an existential matter. The blue latex shroud traps the volume of air inside it, and when it flows into the sculptural body, the inanimate-dead comes alive.
In Zach’s previous works, the sculptural volume was also intimately linked to the existence of a body. Objects such as crutches or fluid bags, which carry the memory of the wounded body, often held an imagined performative potential. In this project, she crosses over for the first time from sculpture to the performative act itself. Using wearable objects, Zach continues her sculptural exploration of the group and the interdependence relationships within it. The irregular projection on sheets of silicone that resemble translucent skin imbues the space with an enigmatic corporal presence, deliberately undermining the viewer’s ability to distinguish body from object and image from material.
Yaara Zach: The First Year
Artwall gallery Prague
Curators: Zuzana Štefková Lenka Kukurová
30 June to 27 September 2023
Yaara Zach's photographs are inhabited by figures draped in blue plastic overalls standing alone among the rocks, washed out on the sea beach, seemingly lost and abandoned. Their plastic skin with tubes and strange flapping extensions turns their bodies into something uncanny, simultaneously human and alien. These bodies testify to the vulnerability of both human and more-than-human existence.
“The blue figures are taken from my dreams. They are altered in the act of breathing, from body to an object and vice versa. The work evolved around the fragility of breathing, the first and last action in life. I wanted to use air as a material and give it a shape, even if it was limited in time,” comments the artist. The photographic series stems from a video of the same title where performers interact in what seems like a ritualistic ceremony. They inflate each other’s suits embodying the idea of mutual support and interconnectedness by breath. The images displayed at Artwall however, suggest feelings of isolation. The clinging plastic seems to suffocate those wrapped in it. Bodies on the beach resemble dead marine life strangled by plastic waste. Figures surrounded by sand and rocks scorched by the sun evoke the drought brought about by the climate change. They bring to mind the fragility of life and the environment in which we live.
CCA Tel Aviv Yafo
Curators: Tamar Margalit
July 4- August 26 2023
In "Dark Ecology" (2016), the philosopher and ecologist Timothy Morton describes contemporary human existence as essentially melancholic: just as man comes to terms with not being the master of nature and having to share the biosphere with other, equally important, species, he is forced to confront the massive desolation he has wreaked on the planet’s ecosystem. The video work by Yaara Zach (*1984, Kiryat Haim; lives and works in Tel Aviv) invokes this existential lament. Zach documents a mourning ceremony in which a human body is fused with a synthetic, tentacled object, resembling a single-celled creature, algae, or amoeba. The organism crawls from land to sea, as its breaths — growing rapid and heavy — inflate the loose material. The video work is a continuation of Zach’s material investigation in sculpture, as can be seen in the coiled object that hangs from the ceiling — a new version of a previous series of works created especially for the exhibition. Here, too, the industrial material of latex, is conflated with a primordial organic form such as a cocoon or snake’s skin, that become subject to the force of gravity. (From the exhibition text, by Tamar Margalit).
Video and stills photography in 'The First Year': Yair Meyuhas
Video editing, The First Year': Thalia Hoffman
Sound 'The First Year': Binya Reches
Video performance: Shira Ben Uriel, Tamar Sonn, Talya Levy, Joy Bernard, Ela Pollak, Yaheli Nissim Kobliner
Video production: Jonah Clarfield
Costume assistant: Noa Klagsbald
Stills performance: Shira Ben Uriel, Ela Pollak, Ella Gill
Documentation at Wilfrid Museum, stills, and video: Tal Nissim
Documentation at CCA: Lena Gomon
Documentation at Artwall Gallery: Martin Micka
Part of the video work The First Year, 2023