De Oude Kerk, Museum van Loon, Castrum Peregrini and De Reinwardt Academie make up the new coalition “Transhistoriciteit” supported within the framework of 3Package Deal. It wants to stimulate ‘creative producers’ to develop activities that connect and combine historic periods and cultural contexts.
The coalition partners have selected Tel Aviv based artist Ronit Porat to live and work in Amsterdam for a year as of September 2016. Her studio will be based, in turn, at the host institutions.
Artist Ronit Porat writes about her art, “My engagement with times and places is not an external one, but applies a subjective circular motion that begins with the personal, shifts to the collective, and then returns to the self.” So then, according to Porat – who holds a MFA from the esteemed Chelsea College of Art and Design and who has exhibited her art in dozens of shows from Paris to Warsaw to Jerusalem to Albania and beyond – time and history are transcendent and the mistakes and victories of our histories reside with us now and here.
Her art clearly explores these concepts of subjectivity and transcendence and connectedness, and her primary tools are juxtaposition, overlay, and mixed media. Using these tools among many, she shows us that time and history are not just one thing, but they are cobbled together to forge a collective memory that colors the way we see the world: on top of an image of an unidentified boy, she scribbles a Hitler mustache; she juxtaposes a nose-diving war plane with a nose-diving woman dressed in a short white garment; she tears in half a self portrait of Marianne Breslauer; in several images of unusual bodies, she convolutes anatomy and physiology to craft images that are at once familiar and alien. And the wondrous, whimsical, challenge of her work is tempered with a muted grayscale color scheme that unites each of her pieces as sentences in one large conversation about what it is to be alive.
One inspiration for Porat’s work is the Kibbutz in which she grew up, a “unique place which derives it identity from its history and the story behind its settlement.” Through her upbringing there, Ronit Porat began to understand how important it was to analyze histories holistically, incorporating objects and artifacts that come from various periods and cultural contexts. One can clearly see this in her work, which is radically inclusive and pleasantly jarring because of its unexpected pairings of disparate images and texts. Regarding her reasons for mixing so many images, Porat says that “everything can be included in order to create new narratives from the images that resonate with memory, pain and belonging.” And indeed, viewers are sure to experience visceral emotions when enjoying the Israeli artist’s work; it is easy to feel as though we too are included in her art, that she is telling our personal histories.
Ronit Porat’s art has resonated with audiences all over the world, and she has received coveted awards from organizations such as America-Israel Cultural Foundation, the Arab Jewish seminar on Creative Environment, the Ministry of Culture and Sport, and the Hadassah College of Technology. She was also named Musrara, Jerusalem’s Artist for Social Change in 2009.