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As one of the youngest artists to ever represent Israel, Gilad Ratman has created a multi-channel installation for the Israeli pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. Ratman’s installation, “The Workshop,” follows a group of friends (many of them are friends of the artist) on a journey from Israel to Venice.
Their journey begins in the caves of Israel, navigating through large caverns and narrow passages before breaking through the floor of the Israeli Pavilion, where viewers of the presentation currently stand watching. On arrival the group begin to transform the pavilion into a workshop, sculpting their faces in clay brought from Israel.
These clay self-portraits are spread throughout the pavilion on easel like displays, which stand out amongst the room’s stark white walls. After viewing the filmed segment of the installment, one can wander about the room to observe each piece and their sculptors. The sculptures are accompanied by incoherent voice recordings, which suggest a pre-linguistic stage of life. “The Workshop” creates the feeling that you are viewing history, perhaps fictional, yet true at the same time.