By MAAYAN KEINAN, FELICITY KAY
A broken dream, violence and the search for ‘self’ laid the basis for a new art exhibition which has just finished running at the Dresdner Gallery in Jaffa. The Chief of Stuff invites one and all to witness the self-exploration of the artist as his dream of becoming an Israeli Defence Forces Sergeant ends in failure, to his dismay but the Israeli art scene’s delight.Itamar Gilboa, in his first Israeli exhibition and the ‘Chief’ of the title, discusses the vast feelings of a man exploring the dislocation of identity, simultaneously portraying the simplicity of emotions within the ambivalence of life itself. “I am the starting point” says Gilboa, referring to his video art in particular, where he performs actions on screen, dressed in Sergeant uniform.His art focuses on violent and masculine Samurai warriors, depicted insubdued colours, which he believes serves as an appropriate metaphorfor his own mysterious journey into self-discovery. “It is searchingyour mind and turning it into a reality”. He told TheJerusalem Post that the show was a “very successful portrayalof his work,” with most of the pieces displayed being sold.Despite the authenticity of his work, Gilboa only commenced his studyof art as recently as nine years ago, when he moved to the GerritRietveld Academy in Amsterdam, leaving behind a successful career inHi-Tech Telecommunications. However, after the death of his father, hedecided to turn his focus to the sense of dislocated identity he feltas an Israeli living in Holland, and the feeling of conflict in eithercontinuing his study of art in Holland, or “facing his demons” inIsrael. He co-authored a fiction book with his mother, whichstrengthened their relationship following his father’s death and whichalso, he believes, strengthened his belief in himself and his art.Gilboa’s art is full of variety, reflecting his own feeling of hisabsorption with life, death and identity. He seeks to discover theminority of lost people who do not always settle so easily, having toprogressively settle physically and emotionally over time. His use of adiverse set of materials, such as wall installations, oil on canvas,mixed media and interior design provide the audience with appoint ofcomprehension for his art – it is by giving his audience numerousoptions to enjoy his art that he believes makes his message so readilyavailable.However, it is not only his innate artistic talent, but additionallyhis business acumen which gives his the edge in the cut-throat artworld. “For every ninety-nine that says no to me, there will always beone who says yes.”Still regarded as a young and highly ambitious artist, he says that itis his own lost dream of an Army life which inspires him to explore hiscomplex visions of an Israeli expat living in Europe.AdvertisementIt is this delicate balance which makes his art so versatile andvulnerable. A confused man, searching for himself, for meaning, foranswers, makes this a universal subject matter for all – in any onepiece alone, there are a multitude of emotions present, ranging fromrage to humour. But it is through this strong, constructed, sense ofidentity that has made this artist the true “Chief of his Stuff.”
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