HaGalil Gallery, Acre, Israel, 2017
(Images of exhibition below text)
Gilam’s work begins with an intense collection of images rooted in an extensive visual culture: film frames, photos from social media, paintings by various artists (well-known and less so), displays of high fashion designers, textile designers, makeup-artists, and more. The endless fabric of images diffuses throughout his works in every aspect, from the palette to the use of the mannequins.
After the collection, the various images are generated and combined to create a computerized collage. Unlike manually fitting together pieces of paper, the computer graphics opens up a whole new world of connections, attempts, and mistakes that are not possible when working with physical materials.
The cacophonous puzzle created by Gilam’s computer is then painted on a large canvas and the computerized image takes on new life through textures, colors, and real materials. The work undergoes an additional stage of development as Gilam separates the created image into individual elements—transferring the figures from the canvas and forming 3-dimensional presence through the mannequins, the color spots transforming into sheets of cloth spread across the ﬂoor and hung from the ceiling, geometrical shapes sculpted out of wood, cardboard, and MDF. The various stages of the creative process are all wrapped together in the final product—the exhibition.
A collage is first and foremost a busy and chaotic visual experience, and like an installation work, it contains elements of plurality and abundance which hinder any attempts to focus and discern clear details. In order to decipher a collage, viewers must actively and deliberately observe the piece; only in this way will they succeed in experiencing the image as a whole in all its parts. The same is true in regards to the manner in which the entirety of the exhibition must be observed. This is an attempt by Gilam to disturb the order, to challenge human expectation for coherence, and to create an artistic product that imitates our way of looking at the everyday world—as a visual field filled to the brim.
The painting that Gilam creates in the wake of the computerized image is a ﬂattened image, formal and full of vibrant colors which dictate the shades and details of the entire installation. It is nearly impossible to identify separate and original images within the painting: Gilam blended together so many sources of inspiration that the image created is a new one, standing as a source by itself. This is an optical attempt by Gilam to insert into the painting, just as with the collage that preceded it, the vitality of everyday life: the same daily life which is saturated with technology and lacking time, providing us with visual abundance at every turn, which in turn does not allow us to explore these things in depth. In a world laden with images which constantly challenge our spatial-visual perception, the importance of the spotlight on the human modes of vision becomes more and more apparent: our field of vision is built from fragments upon fragments of visual information that our eyes perceive, even when we seek to focus on a specific object. The entire space constantly meets our eye.
As such, what can we distinguish from the inﬂux? What objects in our surroundings are designed to catch our attention? What thought,
or ideology, stands behind the visual products designed for us? In light of these questions, works of art are placed in a unique position. In contrast with design, advertising, or visual communication, Gilam perceives art as free of functional, commercial, or economic constraints.
For Gilam, art is the extreme point of the visual: a platform for ideas, thoughts, and exploration; which before all, requires observation. Art can open a new path towards the forgotten skill of observation, a skill which itself has become an irregular act, one that almost does not occur in a truly conscious manner in our lives. Transforming the painting into an installation intensifies the possibility of change in viewing habits. The large installations are an opportunity to refine and re-adjust our attention. Installation works, by their very nature, do not allow viewers to perceive them at once. This is a sort of white-noise filtering process: in order to see and feel the entire installation, we are required to wander through it. We must walk along the various objects, choosing our way through the space, deciding where to stop and what details to potentially skip. In our visual and physical journey through the gallery space, we find ourselves becoming a part – if only for a moment - of the artistic process: this is our opportunity to stop and irregularly observe ourselves.
Hagar Bril, curator