SUSPENDED ANIMATION | Dvir Cohen-Kedar


From the very outset of his artistic career Dvir Cohen-Kedar has been perusing the human body in a disturbing manner. While in previous series he explored genetic defects which science has succeeded in almost entirely eliminating from our world, now he focuses on the Western tendency to fight the developing body and the natural changes occurring in it, also addressing the attempt to decelerate and even stop these processes.
 

The title of the exhibition, "Suspended Animation," refers to the world from which the artist draws his inspiration: Otaku culture in general, and the Japanese anime and manga styles in particular: strange-looking, flat figures, a neutral space, enlarged eyes, minimalist mouth and nose, and vivid coloration are among the motifs which he shares with them. The term "suspended animation" is borrowed from the world of biology. It refers to a phenomenon unique to certain animal species, which enables them to slow down their life processes, without stopping them entirely. Western science has endeavored to study this phenomenon and reconstruct it artificially.
 

If otaku contains a certain measure of self scoffing aimed at Japanese culture, one may say that the works on view here embed some scorn of Western culture. The artist ostensibly criticizes modern Western man, who exerts himself incessantly to fight the body's natural aging processes. Cohen-Kedar's figures try to suspend their maturation, possibly even prevent it altogether. Naked and stressed, their body structure is strange, and their sexual identity is obscure. They appear on the verge of adolescence, yet their bodily postures and their gaze, which is direct and penetrating, sometimes appearing as though it emerges from the face of an old man, hint that their age is higher than their bodies may indicate. These are seasoned, hardened figures, long past adolescence despite their refusal to acknowledge this fact.
 

The exhibition further features a first animation work by Cohen-Kedar, Zen Bubbles, which is also a type of "suspended animation," whether due to the slow movements of the bubbly creature or the Zenic sound, which is supposed to calm the mind and hold man back from his mundane engagements. The work addresses the commercialization of Zen culture in the West. The animation is introduced as a commodity which ostensibly meets Zen criteria, yet the creature's helpless expression and the bubbles implying bodily excretions, violate the mock tranquility.
The exhibition spans eight paintings in oil on canvas, twelve drawings in ink on paper, and one animation piece.
Dvir Cohen-Kedar (b. 1978, Israel) – B.Ed., The Midrasha School of Art, Beit Berl Academic College, Israel; MFA, The Art Department, University of Haifa. Two-time recipient of the Artist-Teacher Award, Cohen-Kedar has participated in numerous group exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the country. This is his fourth solo exhibition.