September 28, 2015, New York, NY: The work process for Addam Yekutieli’s Empathy is part of an ongoing project rooted in real human situations and extensive research of contextual observations and appropriation. A poignant series of text-based photographic diptychs pair site-specific outdoor pieces with images of people bearing hand poked tattoos of the works.
Open-ended narratives are reinforced by their context as each urban environment takes an active part in the dialogue. The same texts tattooed on volunteer participants extend the work from the ethereal nature of outdoor works in public spaces into a more permanent form. After an intimate session where the artist and his collaborators meet for the first time, the work manifests itself in a new shape with a personal meaning. This allows a constant process of authoring and re-authoring of the images created, distancing the artist from his role as an exclusive creator of the image depicted. The text is adopted into the participant’s personal storyline from that point on. Fittingly, the portraits presented are taken in the midst of the participants’ daily lives, with little to no interference on behalf of the artist. The photo shoots represent the beginning of these relationships that will be followed up on in the future and woven together as time goes by.
Written between the lines of the emotional and personal dialect is a representation of a larger political discussion. The artist puts an emphasis on the collective notion created. An invisible network now connects each participant and work, and later the participants with each other. A piece that was initially created in a South African township, now is housed on the ribs of someone in Tel Aviv. Alternately a text originally written on a shack in Tel Aviv is now inscribed on someone living in suburban Rhode Island. By creating parallels between political situations and emotional conditions, there is an attempt to perceive the political process and dialogue as emotional mechanism, therefore making it a conduct that can be understood intuitively and not solely intellectually.
In the center of the gallery space stands an installation constituted of bound tree stumps placed in a pool of dark water – a tribute to the collective notion of circumstance and a shared reality. The reflective water allows viewers to see themselves as part of this collective notion, and as the artist attempts to do in his practice at large, urges observation, reflection and Empathy.