About the Artist
Looking at Yuval Atzili’s art is like reading a poetic
and unique detective novel. The process of viewing and trying to connect the
dots, summons an exceptional experience, one of irresistibly captivating charm.
The attempt to solve the mystery poses many questions:
How are the family photos, birds, body parts, and a football connect? What is
the football made of? What is the sparkly parrot made of? Does the football in
the video hit Yuval’s head? Who is kicking it? And what do these have to do
with the exhibition’s title?
We have no way of knowing the gender of that “you” in
the title. The artist creates deliberate ambiguity between female and male, as
a preamble to his exploration of relationships, identity, and gender.
In one work, a graffiti written on a rock reads, “Love
You.” Next to it, another rock is spraypainted “Our Dear Atzili!”. Who is the
recipient of these? Are the two graffities linked?
Another pair of photos shows Gal, Atzili’s twin
brother, and Dor, his elder brother’s son, both wearing long wigs. Atzili’s
parrot, who flew away after he raised her for two years, is repetitively
documented in different contexts. The parrot was named Shlomi (a Hebrew male
name) since initially she was mistaken for a male parrot. The song that gave
the exhibition its name, LP’s “Lost on You,” was Shlomi’s favorite song.
Through his art and the title, Atzili tells us he has
lost a great deal. As a twin brother, a gay man, a childfree person. For
choosing to live his life as an artist, as a son abandoning football in a
family centered around football. For his three brothers, for Shlomi the
Parrot. But for Atzili, loss is not a
negative experience, but rather another opportunity for self-exploration and
Atzili and his family appear in several photos. The
exhibition features a series he has been photographing for years, reminding of
Nicholas Nixon’s famous series “The Brown Sisters,” where the American artist
documented his wife and her sisters annually for over 40 years. But unlike
Nixon, Atzili does not document external changes; he is talking about himself.
In each of the works – whether they seem to explore family, football,
masculinity, beauty, or birds – he is talking about himself, and about each and
every one of us.
Like in the family series which was in the making for
12 years, other works convey the meaning from Atzili’s work process. The
significance of his process exceeds that of the final object. The football was
fashioned from a porn magazine. The vibrant parrot was assembled from tiny
pieces of mylar balloons, reminiscient of his nephews’ and nieces’ birthdays.
In the video of Atzili with a clay bird on his head, the main event is the
anticipation. It does not really matter whether the ball will hit him or not.
In all of his works, documentation is a window to an
inner, poignant world. It does not matter if more children will be added to the
family photo. It does not matter if we cannot tell whose (and which) body parts
the little birds are nestled in, or what the white swan is made of.
Looking at the works, we let go of the possibility to
solve the mystery and witness a journey into the artist’s soul. A journey so
honest, unguarded, and true to itself, that if we look and listen carefully
enough, we might be able to discover a new part of ourselves