Yifah Raz, RE: FRESH WIDOW, digital print and collage
Israeli, b. 1957, playing from Tel Aviv, Israel
I believe in Art that emerges from its Community, location and daily life: an art that seeks to point at, to alert, to make a change and to heal. My works belong to everybody. Their place is not in museums and galleries, but in public spaces and street corners. They can be reached by anyone. My role as an artist is to give birth to ideas and to generate them onward. From here they develop. My artistic Ego is the sum of all those who participate with me. This way I feel totally fused with my audiences, I can respond immediately to events and moods, I'm fed back from the community and according to the dynamics and conditions dictated by the public and the field. I am on line connected using the recent tools of the arts: digital media and the social networking services. All these but without excluding the real and physical object of art. My domain is Tel Aviv. Its pulses drive me to work and respond. The unique atmosphere I have never seen anywhere else, of both individualism and yet a sense of togetherness, of detachment and cooperation in the same time. It makes me act as a mediator who reminds people of the things we all share. For the last year, I'm deeply involved in a prolonged project I call "Fornever." It is essentially about the commemoration of the temporary - the first part of this took place in the summer of 2012. There I prepared 50 plaster popsicles indifferent 'tastes' and published them in the net. Each one was followed by a short description of its healing or soothing qualities. People reacted immediately and sent endless comments describing their personal responses to them. This was followed by the F.A.F (Free Art Friday) international project in Tel Aviv, in which works of art were planted in different locations if the city and were meant to be collected by the public. These popsicles were a tremendous success. People scanned the city to follow them and came back, publishing photos of their personal finds. Than people(artists) asked me for plain popsicles to create their own personal one and sent it to me. People sent me dreams and stories they wrote which were developed from it. This led me to my recent project in which I deal with O. Henry’s short story, "The Last Leaf." From this story I took the Idea of the Art work (the painted leaf on the wall) as a healing power, As part of this project I prepare a WishingTree of different charms. These were made in the shape of 'last leafs' - each one unique in its form in various techniques & materials and meaning. At this stage I invited different sides of the public; friends and artists, on the one hand, and patients in mental institution on the other. I wished to give the community a chance to grant themselves with charms and protective amulets, made and exchanged by them. They can put any personal wish or content in these charms as long as they keep them in the framework I have traced. In the case of the "Abarbanel" mental hospital, a funny thing happened when the staff and social workers were so enthusiastic about the project that they demanded to participate themselves. The materials for this project were brought by people who had participated in the previous project. These 'gifts' of the community to itself will be placed, eventually, in a small park in Tel Aviv, which also contains the role of the artist as a healer (even at the expense of his own life), hanging down from tree branches where visitors can pick them up and smile. To each leaf I attached a short paragraph in which I invite the one who picked the leaf to see it, not as an end of the act, but as a beginning. I encourage him or her to play an active role in the creation - to feel free to change, add and elaborate on it, so as to turn it into a personal CharmLeaf. For future projects, I propose to continue collaborations with other artists, producing other 'give and take' works. The experience I bring with me includes a B.A. History of Art; M.A. in expressive therapies,;Therapy and Mediation –Abarbanel psychiatric hospital, several organizations and facilities (Private clinics) – personal and group therapy; Teaching and development of unique study plans – Ben-Gurion University, Levinsky Seminar, Kibbutzim Seminar,;Spontaneity School (planned, established, and run by myself: Authorized mediator – (accredited by the Ministry of Justice) where I have developed a method of mediating between parents and children (all ages); Instruction – registered guide of Yahat (the Israeli Association of Creative & Expressive Therapists); Copy-writing – another side of me has to do with copy-writing and advertisement management. I have worked, at big advertising firms, for 7 years. Art – at the two FAF projects, of the popsicles and of the leaves, as well as a group exhibition at the Holon Museum and at the Artists House GalleryPictures from the event (you may see more pictures in my facebook albums – Yifah Raz)
Thoughts on the Telephone process
I 've studied the difference between hearing & listening, between interpreting without dominating and reacting without inflecting, to the degree that was possible. It was playful, egoless and a surprising experience . It inspired me, and I made a new art project out of it (posters of 'Fresh Widows' treated by me to hang outside a museum).