Past Exhibitions

Penny Hes Yassour / Mapping countries yet to come

Shir Meller-Yamaguchi


Penny Hes Yassour defines herself as a cartographer-artist. The concept of a “mental map” has served her as a field of research from the outset of her artistic career, linking her two areas of study: geography and art.
The landscape drawings presented in her 2008 exhibition “No*So*No*Rous” at the Kibbutz Art Gallery, Tel Aviv (curator: Yaniv Shapira) were based on architectural structures which dissolve into the landscape. These drawings formed the basis for the creation of the double surfaced nets cast in a liquid plastic substance developed by Hes Yassour. Combining organic forms and unintelligible script, the nets are suspended on a fine web of threads reminiscent of a map grid. They allude to the military camouflage nets commonly seen in the local landscape. At the same time, they are typified by a sense of fluidity, integrating natural and urban forms to produce an infinite drawing in space, and the viewer is invited to tour the multi-dimensional land-map.
The current exhibition features an installation combining nets, cartographies, and a video projection. It proposes changing modes of reading of the real space. The net silhouettes are screened on a partition made of translucent fabric, creating a landscape reminiscent of Chinese ink drawings. The illusion of a refined landscape which abruptly transforms into a thicket in the space behind the partition indicates the illusion in which we are trapped in our reading of the space as revealed from a single point of view at a given moment. The transitions between screens, net-works, cartographies, and screened landscapes underscore the subjectivity, temporality, and relativity of each representation.
The series Cartographies (2013–15) was inspired by ancient Chinese cartography which is devoid of scale. The map guides the traveler, depicting paths, bridges, and passages. According to the artist, “My maps are ensembles of experiences, traces of activities, his-stories, images and unreadable texts, where the distinctions between the psyche, the social, and the environment collapse, so as to create spatial and temporal assemblages, via serial formations, which are constantly in the process of creation.”
These cartographies were created in layers, much like the creation of maps; each layer has its unique character, rhythm, coloration, text, and texture. The movement of the hand on the canvas left marks and an imprint, as if Hes Yassour had embarked on a journey within the map itself while sketching it. These maps contain the ambiguity of concurrent concealment and revelation, and a sense of infinite occurrence. A video of a dripping water into an empty reservoir is screened on the paintings and the wall through a chest of drawers; interrupted and then resumes as yet another spatial layer, reflecting the limits of vision and the fact that we will always see only a segment of all that exists.
The title of the exhibition, “Mapping of Countries Yet to Come,” was derived from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s introduction to their rhizome theory: “Writing has nothing to do with signifying. It has to do with surveying, mapping, even realms that are yet to come.” The cartographies’ mode of presentation in this exhibition, on a device designed to hang maps, keeps their mystery as an invitation to take a journey in those lands.
Shir Meller-Yamaguchi