Fall 2018

Longstanding collaborators in life and art, performance artist Tamy Ben-Tor and painter Miki Carmi excavate and analyze human archetypes through their philosophically oriented practice. Using different approaches, both artists strip their subjects bare, revealing the marks that define each subject’s neurotic psychological state. The result is a close look at the undeniable tension between material life and the desires of the soul. Ben-Tor’s performances and Carmi’s painting are made in a shared space through constant dialogue, and fuse into singular projects through video works.

 

Carmi’s primary subjects are his grandparents and parents, who he photographs and paints, removing hair and identifying clothing. This is set in stark contrast to Ben-Tor’s similarly probing human studies, which are based on close observation and extrapolation of behaviors through her expansive fluency with language, accent, gesture, costuming and aural effect. Archival photography, specifically ethnography as connected to the eugenics projects of the nineteenth and twentieth century, orients their understanding of the face. There is a modified nostalgia that points out the impact of fracturing the whole self (mind, body, soul) through the western intellectual tradition. The results are a large body of work that presents an utterly particular logic and visual quality. The surfaces appear filtered through a lens that compresses time. Sepia tones, browns, deep greens, a yellow hue: this tonal register Ben-Tor and Carmi have formulated infers the past, but a past that has never existed. It is a hue of now that incorporates and acknowledges its progenitors.

 

Between Ben-Tor’s absurdist performances that conflate subjects to unravel core emotional, social and hierarchical formulations that poison contemporary culture and Carmi’s intimate, probing paintings that construe the specificity of humanity and memory, these artists have developed a visual language oriented by the grotesque. They offer an insightful and stirring reflection on the process of disembodiment in our time.

Tamy Ben-Tor was born in Jerusalem where she attended The School of Visual Theater, and lives in New York, where she met Carmi during the MFA program at Columbia University School of the Arts. Selected individual exhibitions: Radical Humanism (with Miki Carmi), Rosenfeld Gallery, Tel Aviv (2014); Young Emerging Artists Eating and Fucking (with Miki Carmi) Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw, Poland (2012);1646, Project Space, The Hague (2010); Disembodied Archetypes (with Miki Carmi), Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, Stefan Stux Gallery, New York, Beaumontpublic +königbloc, Luxemburg (2009); Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland (2008); The Kitchen, PERFORMA 07, Salon 94, New York (2007). Selected group exhibitions: Le Nouveau Festival du Centre Pompidou, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015); Theatrical Gestures, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel (2013); Day Labor, PS1/MoMA, New York (2005). Works in collections: American University Museum, Washington; Miami Art Museum, Miami; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Miki Carmi, born in Jerusalem, graduated from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem before receiving his MFA at Columbia University School of the Arts in New York.  He has had solo shows at Stefan Stux Galley, NY, Beaumont Public, Luxemburg, Anne De Villepoix, Paris, and has participated in exhibitions at SOMA Museum, Seoul, MONA Museum, Tasmania, and HVCCA, Peekskill, NY. He has published two art books: Disembodied Archetypes (with Tamy Ben-Tor), 2009, and Miki Carmi, 2012 (with an essay by Coco Fusco). His work has been reviewed by Donald Kuspit in Artforum (March 2006), Ken Johnson at the NY Times, and Michael Wilson (Time-Out NY 2010). He is currently represented by Stefan Stux Gallery, NY.

Date: September 18, 2017
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Miki Carmi, Cactus, 2013, one-hour photo prints using Cannon AT1 reflex camera with patina from floor of paint drips, dust, hair, 4 x 6 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Collaboration, Smudi, 2010, 9:32min. video still. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Acidic grandma, 2010, oil on canvas, 41 x 37 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Tamy and Gavri, 2012, oil on paper mounted on canvas, 24 x 18 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Big dad, 2012, oil on canvas, 67 x 50 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Big Mom, 2013, oil on canvas, 55 x 42 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Collaboration, one-hour photo prints using Cannon AT1 reflex camera with patina from floor of paint drips, dust, hair, 4 x 6 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Tamy Ben-Tor, 2009, Malmo, Sweden. performance documentation, video still. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Cactus Grandma, 2015, oil on canvas, 58 x 42 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Dad, 2012, oil on canvas, 42 x 32 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Tamy Ben-Tor, I’m Uzbek, 2009, 3:44 min. video still. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Grandma, 2006, oil on canvas, 69 x 50 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Collaboration, Debi, 2017, performance documentation, one-hour photo prints using Cannon AT1 reflex camera with patina from floor of paint drips, dust, hair, 6 x 4 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Grandfather, 2006, oil on canvas, 69 x 50 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Collaboration, Ensor, 2012, performance documentation one-hour photo prints using Cannon AT1 reflex camera with patina from floor of paint drips, dust, hair, 6 x 4 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Grandma, 2005, oil on canvas, 72 x 52 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Collaboration. Polish Girl, 2008, one-hour photo prints using Cannon AT1 reflex camera with patina from floor of paint drips, dust, hair. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Grandma, 2007, oil on canvas, 42 x 35 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Tamy Ben-Tor. Izaak, 2009, 11:29 min. video still. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, 2011, Retarded Baby, oil on canvas mounted on cardboard, 11 x 8 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Self-portrait Masturbating, 2016, oil on paper, 24 x 18 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Collaboration, Smudi, 2010, 9:32min. video still. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, The Artist as a Homosexual Bully, 2015, marker on A4 paper. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, The Holy Family, 2015, pen on A4 paper. Courtesy of the artists.
Collaboration, The Meaning of Life, 2016, 16:43 min. video still. Courtesy of the artists.
Miki Carmi, Tub, 2010, one-hour photo prints using Cannon AT1 reflex camera with patina from floor of paint drips, dust, hair, 6 x 4 inches. Courtesy of the artists.