Department of Fine Arts

Blanche & Romie Shapiro

Fine Art 2019, Graduate Exhibitions
daria lemeshkin, .
, 2019, Graduated 2019, Fine Arts

"Woman is neither open nor closed. She is indefinite, in-finite, form is never complete in her. She is not infinite but neither is she a unit(y), .... No metaphor completes her. Never is she this, then that, this and that"
L. Irigaray, Volume-Fluidity

The artist Daria Lemeshkin-Cohen was born in the Soviet Union and grew up among the cult of the Messianic Jews in Jerusalem, a religion that moves on a deceptive and ever-changing axis, the extremes of which are evangelical Christianity and Judaism prior to the destruction of the Second Temple. The community’s rules fed off the concept of "impurity" versus "holiness",  seeing as the community's perception of the body was largely derived from the Christian tradition, according to which the body is the source of all sin and must be denied, and its needs suppressed. Theorist Julia Kristeva distinguishes between Jewish and Christian contempt; If Jewish impurity comes from outside and is assimilated, then Christian impurity is inherent. Therefore, we are born unclean and despised and only Christ can abolish impurity and make us clean.

The works in the exhibition are fragments of feelings and memories of the artist. These correspond to the concepts of impurity and holiness that reverberate the mechanisms of survival within them. After her escape from the cult and arriving into the world of visual representations, the images that arose from this transformation were body images, which correspond against the messianic approach to the body , and the body of women in particular. The works presented depict images of a partial, sometimes fragmented body with a hybrid appearance.

From her experience as a cult survivor, the artist tries to crack the mechanism of the binary pendulum in the center of which is the skin which separates the interior from the exterior, between the despicable and the holy. The one that is always out there, out of reach, but not by definition.

Another striking pendulum movement is that between the prostitute and the madonna, the two models through which the patriarchate binds the concept of femininity. The patriarchal need to delineate the entire feminine experience into this binary contrast runs through the different fragments of the exhibition, relying on both a global feminine experience without a concrete affiliation and the personal experience of becoming a woman within a fanatical religious sect. On the same note, the artist tries aiming towards another interpretation of the woman's experience, an experience that does not exist as a counter-experience to the patriarchal world but as a separate entity with an independent existence. The skin is a wrap that is not hermetically sealed, and revolves around a bound and forced feminine experience and offers another, dialectical possibility of creating a language for a new woman.

daria lemeshkin
Graduated 2019