One Straight Line
We all learned in school long ago that through two points only one straight line can be drawn. Alongside it, endless other lines wander and squirm. These can be sketched, imagined, or doodled, but the straight line needs none of those. It is an absolute, requiring no tangibility–only two points.
And what does the point itself require? Nothing, plain and simple. Just a place to be, and not even that in some ways. It has no length, no width, no height, bears no shape or measurement. It lacks body, full stop. The first Euclidean definition, therefore, is negative. You can identify where it is but have almost nothing to add about the point itself. We can only state what it is not.
There’s not much benefit to be had from such a point. Not much benefit from a straight line whose only quality is that is constitutes the shortest route from one absent to another. However, in reality these points may carry heft and volume. In fact, they serve as points of origin, destination, stations, homes. And reality is not Euclidean in nature. Lines do not run straight.
Let us review, as an example, the map. Better, consider a navigation app. It presents us with various possible routes to a destination. Several lines twisting their way to a single point, and none of them straight. Short routes and long routes, coiling. Paths that lengthen the interim span.
In her solo exhibition Morning Noon Evening, Efrat Klipshtien meticulously examines the meanderings of a love story. She deconstructs it and presents the cracks that hold it together.
The starting point is Klipshtien’s house. The destination is the home of her beloved. For almost two years, she allowed Google’s navigation
algorithm to lead her from one point to another during different hours, traveling different routes. And as relationships are wont to do, set patterns emerged: certain ways roads were taken in certain hours. Some traversed major traffic junctions, others crammed into narrow asphalt lanes. Klipshtien’s gaze is directed at the path itself, stretching out as it curves. She cedes her right to musing absently in the interim, as anyone does when they travel yet again the same familiar route, people seemingly in the grip of hypnosis, heedless and inattentive.
And the road is potholed, and rutted, and uneven, carrying surface flaws and deeper faults—marks left by time and overload. Every crack and every bump, every fissure and every sinkhole delineate a line carried from the wheels and axles, the frame, driver’s seat, and the body of the driver herself, who does not attempt to avoid the disruptions but quite the reverse. She begins to look for the faults ahead, directing the car towards them. Reading the path through the tremors and jerking.
Every crack is the onset of deconstruction. It marks a break, undermining expectations. Fatigue and apathy are the signs that establish that time and life are rooted in matter.
Klipshtien, a previous geographer, maps the micro-tectonic shifts of the road’s surface. She researches the movements and fluctuations of the asphalt, archiving and categorizing events, gathering data, drawing conclusions. She casts the hollow dents within the road, giving body to that which is bodyless. These negative spaces are embodied in glass. Abstract events are transformed into entities of glowing presence.
As she positions the collection within the gallery space, cast from the scars pitted into asphalt, Klipshtien places each seemingly precious gem on a stand specifically designed for its form. These stands are placed atop massive wood blocks, roughly hewn. These appear awkward, lacking uniformity, infuriatingly worldly, almost pagan in nature. They stand erect in the space like altars to ancient gods, with the glass objects as tributes or gestures of lofty spiritualism. Narrow rifts are now tangible, having been made into ceremonial implements.
Facing them are two shining parts of the mosaic triptych Cross-Cutting Relationships, with the third standing detached. The three pieces (with one separated and deported to another wall) present a representation of geological fractures, merging layers of differing ages that should not normally be together. The image glitters, reflecting the light, and at close glance dissolves into thousands of simple sequins. These were not relegated to kindergarten crafts projects, or put to beautifying an evening dress, but pinned side by side with a persistent and dedicated hand.
Klipshtien’s inquisitive look also targets the car wheels. She casts the negative space of the tire ruts, extracting long and airy strips from this durable and sooty material, appearing now like lace. The seam of friction created between the empty spaces that erupt within the road and the crannies formed in the wheels tell a story of its own about time and about the route, reminding us that history cannot be disengaged from geography. Time and space are intertwined, as is their nature.
Not far from the tire lace are small white relief prints: orderly rows of rose thorns whose shapes have been indented into the paper. Here, even the romantic bouquet is exhibited in the form of pseudo-geological thorn fossils, detached from their original context and manifested in a foreign material.
Countless paths to wander. Innumerable routes between people and objects.
And the journey from one body to the next is a collection of its crevices.