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At "Sea Level", a new exhibition in the Kav 16 Gallery, viewers experience a bizarre yet profoundly soothing reality that seems diametrically opposed to Tel Aviv's scorching heat. Sharon Glazberg Erez's installation of videos and sculptures creates a mysterious underwater atmosphere that oscillates between this world and a cool, liquid one. "Sea Level" is a compelling example of an artist's vision of reality, allowing viewers to vicariously experience the intersection between the sea and the beach.
The walls of Kav 16 have been painted a deep blue-gray for most of the distance down to the floor. When viewers cross the threshold of the gallery, dreamy music rich with the sounds of trickling water and deep breathing washes over them. The space is low-lit, with just spotlights illuminating the three sculptures and colored light emanating from the two videos.
"Moving Sand," the video projected on the wall across from the entrance, is the largest and strongest piece, and is responsible for the ambiance of the show. Shot on an expansive, uninhabited beach, it features a little girl with long flowing hair moving in and out of the water. "Moving Sand" is not a traditional narrative but a series of fragmented segments filmed from unconventional angles, and it's wide open to interpretation. The piece grapples with broad concepts such as transformation and nature versus culture, but viewers are riveted by visceral sensations and not necessarily by the intellectual content of the piece.
The girl in "Moving Sand" plays a rather primitive yet visually engaging game involving balls of sand assembled in pyramids on the beach. In another scene, the girl appears completely buried in the sand, until it begins to crack and reveal her face. Underwater shots of her young frame swimming are the most hypnotic, and remain so even when dozens of multicolored balloons inexplicably rise to the water's surface from beneath her body. The mood continues to intensify and is undeniably poetic. There's a visual and perhaps conceptual connection between each segment, but Glazberg Erez refrains from forcing it upon viewers.
Besides "Moving Sands", the sculptures are also curious works that look as if they have drifted from the sea onto the beach. One charred black wooden work could be the vestige of a vanished giant's chair or a bridge leading to nowhere. Another untitled piece made of horse and cow bones coated in sugar seems to be the skeleton of a writhing mythological sea-beast about to scream. The final sculpture looks like shells fossilized around an object that has since dissolved.
Kav 16 gots its name because it is conveniently located towards the end of the number 16 bus and sherut line. The gallery may lie outside the Tel Aviv art gallery zone, but it's easy to make the trip and promises to provide a refreshing visual experience.
Kav 16 Community Gallery for Contemporary Art is inside the Neveh Eliezer Community Center, 6 Sheshet Hayamim Street, Tel Aviv. Hours: Monday through Thursday 6 to 8 p.m. On view until June 27. For information, call (03) 730-0360.