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Measure for Measure

Curators: Drorit Gur Arie & Hila Cohen-Schneiderman 13.2.2014 - 26.4.2014

Yosef-Joseph Dadoune's Black Ground may be likened to an abstract tapestry. An opaque black cube of tar, formed by smears of the heavy, resilient-firm substance on canvas, hangs on the tips of several nails in the wall. The work takes its inspiration from an earlier black cube constructed by Dadoune, his own personal version of the camera obscura. Tar was one of the first materials used by scientists to fix the photographic image. In 1826 scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce coated a pewter plate on which the earliest known photographic print was created with a thin film of petroleum tar. For Dadoune, the tar, in addition to being a trace associated with the primal process of photography, also represents the abjectness of the street, filth, life in the desert, the asphalt roads burning in the sun, the glowing black dazzle generated by the blinding sunlight, the very light which is also a basic condition of photography. Dadoune presents us with the stratified, uniform-looking surface of tar generated by the movement of work with the palette knife; the light falling on it reveals the features of the surface which is not trodden like a road, but rather surrenders the tar's blatant materiality and the artist's struggle with the material.


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Joseph Dadoune, Black Ground, 2013, tar, acrylic, gesso on canvas, photo: Elad Sarig

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