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Mimesis | Moran Kliger | Solo Exhibition

In her solo exhibition “Mimesis” at The South African Jewish Museum in Cape Town, artist Moran Kliger will present large scale, labor-intensive pencil on paper figurative drawings. At The Basement Atrium, large figurative drawings in round frames akin to windows peeking into the human unconscious feature manifestations of fear and admiration for nature. The drawings are arranged as a pictorial panorama, in which the figurative and the abstract blend, chaos threatens to take over order, the shades of gray and black are pitted against the white, and a void forms against fullness. Drawn images of the forces of darkness and light are nourished by each other and evolve from one another to create an unraveled, disconcerting space that transpires between the realistic and the imaginary.


At the Temporary Gallery The works thematize the meeting point between man and ape. As the displayed image moves along the seam between the two, the works demonstrate how the border between man and beast blurs and dissolves, and the image itself becomes a new hybrid creature. In this twilight zone of the human and the animalistic, man has not yet lost completely his animalistic origin and the beast is heartrendingly “human.” The drawings offer the viewer an encounter with a world that initially evokes a sense of estrangement, but on second gaze appears rather familiar and elicits identification and empathy. The 1.5 man-size ape drawings are installed in vitrines, which echo zoo cages and nature museums’ display cabinets. Thus, a kind of physical contact is created between the viewer, who walks among them, and the works. The drawings’ large size brings forth a chaotic feeling that undermines conventional perceptions of identities and hierarchies and at the time inspires a feeling of awe similar to that of religious experience. The viewer is unable to completely make out who is the subject he or she sees, where did it come from and what is its habitat, but can still identify him/herself in it. Human elements such as the gaze, the hands and the body postures produce a feeling of an unfamiliar world, which nevertheless is disturbingly similar to our own world.


The primate drawings appear as images uprooted from their natural surroundings and inserted into situations referencing familiar scenes from the Old and New Testament, scenes etched, directly or indirectly, in the viewer’s archetypal cultural memory. This move generates a reversal of the social-cultural order by depreciating or shifting attention from the “high” to the “low, from the spiritual to the secular, from the cultural to the savage. At the same time, the ancient landscape drawings depicte a world that is sort of everywhere and nowhere. This view of ancient, craggy cliffs and rocks overshadowing streams of water serves to relate the image to the myth of Creation, while raising evolutionary associations that contradict this same myth.


The transitions between the “human-ape” installation at the Temporary Gallery and the apocalyptic paintings bathed in beauty at The Basement Atrium, present the cultural process of observing nature, being a part of it, falling in love with it and its destruction, the sense of impending disaster versus the potential of life, the question of controlling and being under control.



Moran Kliger lives and works in Tel Aviv. She graduated with honours from the Faculty of Design and Art, Shenkar Academic College, Israel (2007) and from the Postgraduate Fine Arts Program, Hamidrasha Beit Berl College, Israel (2013).

Kliger's work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions [in countries including Israel, Japan, Sweden, United States, France and Russia].

Kliger’s work focuses primarily on figurative, narrative drawings. Her works engage with the tension between the domesticated element and the wild and dark element within the human psyche. Using motifs associated with raw nature and fantastical elements, she tries to explore the relationship between these two contradictory components in the definition of the human.

Kliger is represented by Noga Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel.

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