Crystal, 2017

Oranim Collage, The Gallery for Israeli Art, Qiryat Tivon

The Return of the Pilgrim, 2016

Traces VI, The Sixth Biennale for Drawing in Israel, Jerusalem Print Workshop

Shay Zilberman’s point of departure is the place, the space. He models the space of a scholar, a romantic, and a collector. The site-specific paper installation in the current show, The Return of the Pilgrim (2016), is tantamount to an inner nature creeping and swarming in a room at the Workshop facing east, toward the Temple Mount, the realm of sanctity, a millennia old place of pilgrimage. Zilberman operates like a paper pilgrim who extract and cuts existing images from magazines, periodicals, encyclopedias, and illustrated books, combining them by means of manual “Photoshop” and intervention in graphite and ink drawing to form hybrid, surrealistic landscapes—dreamlike scenery which holds the time and history of different places brought together. The books serve him as mediators of the world, and paper is the tool by which he creates life. In a collagist act that may be described as gardening, he “grows” a new landscape through the paper, at once nostalgic and disconcerting.

 

Irena Gordon

Men Emptying Content, 2015

Mixed-media and live event presented during Contact Point, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Along the walls in one of the exhibition halls of the Israel Museum a temporary parasite structure has emerged for one night only. Placed at some distance from the walls, and parallel to them, this wooden structure was mounted with a panoramic sequence of collages in varying formats. The collages, sourced from reproductions originating from the museum’s own reservoir of Israeli art catalogues, rearranged the original images into new hybrids. The collage cycle still allowed a glimpse into the works hung behind it – masterworks by the likes of Arikha, Lavie and Schlezniak.

At the center of the space, a “sweatshop” of seven men was at work throughout the evening, employed at cutting the images out of the very same depository of catalogues. The men systematically reassembled the images they cut into a large paper blanket that kept growing as the evening progressed: a “patchwork” of multicolored art reproductions.

The process created a bulk of leftover white pages that were emptied of their images, leaving large window-like holes in their midst. These were bundled together, wrapped in paper and labeled, to be given to the audience in attendance.

Artistic director: Renana Raz
Featuring: Nadav Eisner , Mauricio Einhorn, Yonatan Franzus, Gur Kitai, Yonatan Stern Novitzky, Amir Eliad, Rei Raviv and Niv Hirschowitz
Photography: Dafna Gazit

True to original, 2015

Site specific Installation, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art

The work on view portrays a disconcerting, fictional natural landscape populated with fantastic hybrid creatures, such as bird-people, recalling the illuminated manuscript of the thirteenth-century. Zilberman ascribes great importance to his work process. He quickly scans book pages, locates the ones he deems most appropriate – depending on paper type and texture, as well as the image size and position – and then defaces and appropriates fragments from them. Finally, like an adept surgeon, he joins them together, creating a whole new, alternative reality. The materiality and condition of the printed papers, attesting to their former existence, are evident in the final image, expanding its meaning. The collage practice, surreal landscapes and hybrid figures may be understood as challenging power relations within the cultural and social order and as a reflexive contemplation on photography.The nomadic theme finds expression in various aspects of this work process, portraying the artist as a contemporary flaneur wandering among a multitude of images. The images are cut and combined with others in a way that makes their origin unclear while recontextualizing them in universal, intercultural settings.

The artist’s journey resonates with his moves, indicating points of disconnection and connection among the “treasures” he has gleaned from the originals he has visited. This gathering may be regarded, in light of Deleuze and Guattari’s notions, as a territorial practice of the nomad artist – that is, marking his territory or ownership of the settings and objects he has come across in his journey. The eyes of the figures are covered, releasing them from their concrete existence and allowing the viewer to project his or her own personal world onto them. In addition, this covering effect undermines our viewing, raising questions as to what transpires beneath the surface. In addition, the panorama on the wall presents an inquisitive field of vision by not allowing the viewer’s gaze to see all of it at once. One is required to draw nearer and away again, each time re-encoding the details perceived and processing the images into a semblance of coherence. The various perception routes outlined through the panorama by one’s gaze generate diverse syntactic, subjective image sequences, which continue being woven as long as the gaze lingers.

Tal Bechler

Eternal Afternoon Nap, 2014

Exhibition and Catalog, Inga Gallery, Tel Aviv

The Readymade Centennial, 2013

Haifa Museum of Art

Shay Zilberman creates his collages by combining existing images produced by various artists, most of whom remain anonymous. He cuts them from books, magazines and journals to create visual hybrids, surprising and exciting cross-breeds of images and materials. In the printed materials he finds, collects and acquires, the presence of time is prominent. The pages he works with are remnants of a material world that is disappearing, but he uses them to create a new world of his own. The very simple handiwork, which basically entails cutting and pasting, represents an extinct technique in a world that is controlled by Photoshop and its derivatives.

Zilberman’s focus on what exists and is commonplace suggests that everything has already been found and invented, and it only remains to choose and point at what is important. His approach to materials and images has an aspect of preservation, as well as ecological savings. Moreover, nostalgia is also readymade. The use of a manual technique and existing images rescues the technique and images from being lost and forgotten. And, nonetheless, in an unavoidable circular process, it brings new artistic objects into the world.

Ruth Direktor