Exhibition: Smiles and Surprises

Ilana Raviv one person exhibition
By: Noa Tal- Curator
“Smiles and Surprises”
“Infanta 2005”
Review By: Elie Lavie, Noa Tal
Exhibition Review
August 18-October 2, 2005


Ilana Raviv one person exhibition 

By: Noa Tal- Curator

“Smiles and Surprises” 

“Infanta 2005”

Treading, riding, stretching, bending, reaching, extending, lifting – all these and other motions move the fantastic world revealed to us in Ilana Raviv’s works.

The sweeping motion that takes place within the works nourishes itself.  It passes from one object to another like a chain and constitutes the moving force into the fantastic world filled with activity, a world in which everyone competes for the “space” and for the opportunity to look their best at the front of the picture.  Each organ in the body has a life of its own.  Thus a little girl or doll’s hands succeed in winning a place of honour at the forefront of the painting. The arms, elongated with white paint, create a pointer showing the direction of the movement and seem like oars of energy bursting boats.  Playing an important role, alongside these, is the hair like waves in a storm, mostly in red-black.

Just as Fernand Leger’s works at the beginning of the 20th century turn the human body into machines, in Ilana’s works the girl’s body becomes doll like.  The world of childhood according to Ilana includes: girls and their toys – doll, rocking horse, bicycle and ropes; girls with animals – cat, horse, monkey, dog; girls and clothes – boots, shoes, dresses with lace, cloths, waving scarves, hats and all kinds of other objects.The colours are powerful and prominent amongst them red, black, yellow, blue and white.  The part that alludes to life are the eyes drawn in varying angles.  They are large and filled with energy.  The energy is trapped in them, pointing inward or outward.  In some of the paintings it is the shoes that absorb this energy, the boot or the wheels.  At times the energy manifests itself in the motions of a stride, a walk or a drive across the painting in different directions.

It is interesting to compare Ilana’s works to Diego Velasquez’ Infanta (1656).  In Velasquez’ works we see respect and submission before the Infanta – the world revolves around her and everyone looks at her.  In Ilana’s work all the accessories alongside the girl – the toys, the animals and the other props – all these form an integral part of the girl herself.  The rocking horse and the dolls are like the clothes she puts on and takes off. The girl does not treat them as live objects – they themselves form a part of her, of her personality.

We have been given an opportunity to peer into Ilana’s world of childhood and we see both an inner and outer world intertwined.  This is presented without taking a stand and with no apparent set of priorities.  The dynamics in the world Ilana has created is driven by rules different from those known to us in our world.  Hers is a world filled with intense motion. Like waves in the sea we see only the part that somehow made it ashore – to the foreground of the painting.  It is that very particular moment which has caught her eye and which she has chosen to paint.

Perhaps this is the world we live in?  Maybe the metaphors Ilana has chosen represent the dynamics in which we are immersed?

Noa Tal


August 2005

Special thanks to Mr. Eli Lavie for his initiative and ideas regarding this exhibit.