Israeli-American artist, Noa Yekutieli, draws from personal and historical documentation from Israel and ancient Greece to explore the global enforcement and resistance to specific narratives for her site-specific exhibition, 'Pedestal'. Yekutieli’s use of imagery from present day Israel to ancient Grecian sculptures documents the movement of objects and people across contexts; from the anonymous to synonymous, ancient to modern, the remembered and forgotten.
Framed by the gallery’s entrance a pedestal stacked with rubble introduces the column’s interior logic of structure as both ideal and form - holding up both literally and metaphorically objects of value. Upon entering the exhibition, her signature cut paper technique is introduced outlining a destroyed concrete building in Israel. Black strings of paper stand-in for time passing. The “stretching” of the paper reaches from the top to bottom of the image seemingly upholding a weight it’s not strong enough to hold, as if time and space could collapse at any given moment. There is a sense of leaving while holding on, parting but still connected. Similar to our personal experiences, global history too has its ways of remembering and forgetting.
In the main gallery the walls are flanked with silhouettes of ancient Greek sculptures poised on various sized pedestals. The paper, a medium usually used as a surface on which to create narratives, is now the structure itself. The once heavy and massive sculptures are now anemic ghosts. With their content flattened and drained, the remaining shadows point to places of non-transparency in archeology and museology.
Across the floor remains of homes were collected and carefully placed next to one another resembling a contemporary archeological dig. By constructing a limited pathway in the rubble Yekutieli choreographs the movement of the viewer. The narrow path down the center of the gallery, resembling an emptied pedestal, calls into question autonomous movement in given structures. Along the periphery, a narrow path has been made in the building materials to represent the present moment; too close to view, yet too far to touch.
The centerpiece of this “museum of shadows” investi the formal structure of paper. Oscillating between construction and destruction, seemingly, individual pieces of paper are a singular sheet connected through tiny bridges forming a cut-out abstraction of a demolished building in Israel. The paper sheets have slipped from their place like tectonic plates, separate yet together. The delicate links of paper reference the ancient sculptures that, likewise, have broken over time and forged back together by museum conservators with metal display bars that conjoin the pieces of sculpture while also holding them slightly apart.
In the final gallery mediums used throughout the exhibition merge in a series stones that have been hand printed. The printed rocks reveal small stories of human sentiment, corresponding with ancient hand painted petroglyphs on cave walls. In a meandering timeline from the primitive to modern, Pedestal localizes objects and symbols that are used to literally and metaphorically prop-up the narration of history. On the adjacent wall, opposite the downtown Los Angeles skyline, a suite of three photographs of carefully placed building materials line the wall. In the photos, Yekutieli’s intuitive assemblage is cropped in a photographic image, using framing as yet another tool to define narrative.
Probing the power dynamics of recorded history, Yekutieli makes evident that for every object representing our past, there are many more untold narratives, particularly the within the erasure of domestic labor that has invisibly held society together. Although ancient sculptures are a direct record of history, the exhibition accounts for underrepresented stories and the power of preservation.