"Oreet Ashery: Performance 2003" at Foxy Production (Spring 2004)
"Oreet Ashery: Performance 2003" at Foxy Production
23 October – 29 November 2003)
Coming a little over one year on the heels of her last solo show at Foxy Productions, "Performance 2003" features transitional works. Whereas the Jerusalem-born, London-based Ashery’s 2002 exhibition centered on the artist’s Jewish male alter ego, Marcus Fisher, that alter ego appears in only one of three videos here. In Dancing with Men, a hand-held camera amateurishly captures the festivities at an event in northern Israel, the frenzied dancing at which is sometimes (and somewhat inexplicably) shown in slow motion. That it is virtually impossible to distinguish Fisher amidst the dense crowd of Orthodox Jewish males testifies to the success of Ashery’s infiltration; it also, however, means that the work’s own success requires the viewer’s knowledge of the artist’s previous works or, at least, of the press release, without which all that remains is an amateur video.
Indeed, if there is a flaw in Ashery’s videos, it is this: they do not reward the patient or attentive viewer. Treatment, for instance, strings together television and film clips of shaving and cutting hair. Again in very slow motion, the clips do not unfold in any particular order or with any discernable logic. At the conclusion of the 6-minute loop, the work remains what it was at the beginning: an interesting premise. Still, these and a third video, Too Late Baby, conjure a multitude of issues – cultural and sexual identity, religion and ritual, memory and biography – some of which have been isolated in a colorful array of small digital prints, paintings, photographs, and found objects on one wall. A dazzling visual counterpoint to the unfinished quality of the videos, these wed technical facility with depth of content, and suggest that given an adequate incubation period, the artist’s next exhibition will yield as much success as this one does promise.