Bar Dvir Rahamim

Curated by Moran Solomarsky

Prohibitions apply to the diseased body. Boundaries are blurred and the human body becomes an inanimate object, yet another ‘thing’. External layers of skin peel from a decomposing body, becoming a shadow. The healthy world does not believe in the shadow. It is perceived as false and illusional, a reason why the sick, who bring to mind death and the unknown, are kept at a distance. The closed shutters and thick stone walls conceal and imply hidden lusts and a life involved in destroying clean bodies that become dirty, that which is prohibited, separated from, and ostracized.

The object is found in the distanced house, at the contaminated margin, wrapped to ease his ailing body and beating heart. The disease spreads everywhere. The look of mold is not far from that of a gaping wound upon which the healthy climb to get a glimpse of the forbidden, the interior of a hidden place between the exposed, healthy body, and the wounded. This place will only be reached by those who cross the border; insane, bewitched, or dead.

Bar Dvir Rahamim ponders the act of painting. As a painter, she brings the painting down toward the floor, where she wishes to enter into the depths of the underworld and paint from within it. The work stems from the stone floor of the Hansen House in Jerusalem, previously a leprosy asylum. The ground beneath us moves upwards, layers of hidden memories are mixed in, allowing for the space and the painting to become one. Dvir Rahamim paints what is embedded in the house, froze within it, though her painting-fossil ceaselessly changes. The artist intervenes, nurturing her painting as an ongoing act, she points at the changes in the painting as a sign of its life. The painting is never completed and continues to devour the body of the painter, who keeps producing signs of peeling and leakage of matter and of time stored in space.

In biblical times, when lepers were cured from their wounds, it was believed that one required to be purified and forgiven in order to return to a life out of solitary confinement. Scarlet yarn and hyssop represent the spiritual state of repair. While leprosy is tangible as it is spiritual, these components play a partial role in purification.

The painter must deal with fragments of stories and passing time. Emergent from the floor, her painting delves into the abyss to reveal remnants and scraps of time through the chunks of colors that redefine the past, and touches on memories that cannot be seen in space. By virtue of Dvir Rahamim’s intervention, her painting becomes a living organism created by the cumulative experience of the act of dismantling and the changing nature of the material, which carry a sense of loss and prophecy that encapsulates the story of the ostracized.