Lena Zaidel: Upside Down Objects, Solo Exhibition, The Agripas 12 Gallery, Jerusalem. Jan. 5th 2022 – Feb. 4th 2023, Curator: Oded Zaidel

Upside-down objects / Lena Zaidel

The subject of this series of 15 pastel drawings on paper is still life – but the objects are upside-down. Mineral water bottles, oil bottles, vases, cleaning products, a conch shell, glasses and pitchers “standing on their heads” on a polished surface, observe their own reflections. On the surface, the series engages in the classical motif of the still life, but for me, the upside-down objects I drew during the Covid-19 pandemic became an allegory of a world that turned upside down, froze, and went insane.

The objects, arranged in an orderly manner on the surface, live at home and, as members of the household “sheltering at home,” conduct a metaphorical dialogue among themselves, with their reflections, and between the overturned world. The objects are enmeshed in complicated relationships; they are engaged in the changing intensity of the color, in the tensions between transparent and opaque, in the crowdedness of the elements, the spaces between them, the distance and proximity to the paper’s margins, relationships of height-width-depth-volume, the space above them in contrast to the space below, with the illuminated and shaded – and even with their couple relationship, as in the drawing Couple # 1, featuring blue window cleaning spray and red sofa cleaning spray.

The drawing Couple # 1, hints simultaneously at references to two artists: Giorgio Morandi, and Joan Miró’s sculpture, Pair of Lovers Playing with Almond Blossoms (1975). The motif of the couple relationship, which took on sharper focus during the pandemic, continues to resonate and reaches its climax in the visual dialogue between the white kettle and the pinkish conch shell in the drawing Couple # 3.

The series’ inception was in March 2020, during the first lockdown, as a tribute to Giorgio Morandi’s still life paintings.

Still life 5
Still life #5,  2020, Dry pastel on paper, 70X110
Still life 6
Still life #6,  2020, Dry pastel on paper, 70X110
Still life 3
Still life #3,  2020, Dry pastel on paper, 67X70
Still life 1
Still life #1,  2020, Dry pastel on paper, 67X70
Still life 2
Still life #2,  2020, Dry pastel on paper, 67X70
Still life 4
Still life #4,  2020, Dry pastel on paper, 67X70
Couple 1
Couple #1,  2020, Dry pastel on paper, 67X70
Couple 5
Couple #4,  2020, Dry pastel on paper, 67X55
Couple 3
Couple #3,  2020, Dry pastel on paper, 67X70
Couple 2
Couple #2,  2020, Dry pastel on paper, 67X70