What is your everyday reality when you have 200 missiles aimed around you and ready to be deployed at any moment? This is but one of the questions touched on by Israeli artist, Shony Rivnay, for his exhibition Soft Corps that opened last March 4th. Consisting of paintings, photography, video and sculptures that Rivnay just shed a more lighter and buoyant touch on the subject of everyday vigilance and imminent threat, which has become part of Israeli daily life.
There were missiles fashioned out of wood and embellished in intricate colorful patterns that are a mix of Judeo-Christian and Muslim. For once, all three factions co-exist beautifully even just for the art piece. The idea of destruction is obliterated with these embellished missiles looking dainty and not all threatening. Around the floors were the melting missile heads in pastel colors that provided a wacky landscape despite the dire subject of war and destruction. Again, he wanted to make a lighter treatment to the subject. A wall tapestry of blasted out chunks looked very fantastical with its soft colors and hand painted patterns. In the photos, he had a very otherworldly beach scene with two girls in white cradling soft cloth covered missile heads. It is both idyllic and haunting at the same time.
The everyday reality and blasé attitude of Israelis were illustrated in his video where he walks around with a missile launcher in neighborhoods and populated busy streets. No one raised a brow or stopped him. Is it fatigue or just nonchalance on their part that their lives cannot be ruled by fear? This reminded me of Francis Alys piece where a man roams the streets of Mexico City with a gun (not loaded) but eventually getting stopped by cops. Rivnay zooms through the cityscape with relative ease and hoisting the missile launcher with aplomb.
War is always not pretty but the accoutrements such as missiles take on a whole new meaning with Rivnay’s treatment of it in this show. Just the very idea of imminent danger and fear hanging like a sword on their heads needs to be diffused. If it takes a lighter and softer touch to make it possible then by all means Rivnay has certainly achieved it. WMD can now mean Weapon of Mass Distraction. Art shifts your gaze in a different place. Even for that brief moment, those 200 missiles don’t exist and war seems like a quaint idea.
To view the video interview with the artist, please click below:
Shony Rivnay: Soft Corps / On View: March 4 – April 5, 2014
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (11 am to 7 pm) & by appt.
BOSI Contemporary. 48 Orchard Street. NYC, NY 10002
Art Review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Select Art Images from BOSI Contemporary courtesy of the artist
Photography and video by: Max Noy Photo