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Drora Dekel on Haya Graetz-Ran

2006 | Exhibition text

“Ran’s creation, since she started to create, varies as a pendulum between the autobiographic (born during the state’s establishment) and the reflection of her image in the feminine collective throughout its generations.
Ran digs with inquisitive and obsessive slowness, in a multilayer excavation process, in which finally she turns the character into a restrained icon.
Ran’s feministic cry exposes, in concealing codes, the double secret hidden by the face of the painted figures, their allegedly opportunist and perfect appearance.

The painting’s appearance was taken from “back then” photos, from pioneering days and the state’s establishment. Ran refuses, in an aware and systematic manner, to accept the masculine values of photo photographers and realizes that photographed figures, whether children or mothers, will serve as a survival’s strategy in front of the masculine viewpoint.
Also the decision to cut off the head and neck of some of the figures strengthens the experience of turning the child-feminine body into an object being observed by a man.
In her creation, the father is an attendant- absentee. In some paintings the shadow appears.

The series of works “The Hiding” is painted on large sheets with white background. Inside the empty space, not identified with any certain place, intimate scenes of teen girls are revealed based on photos taken from anonymous sources. Girls, who are lying, wrapped up, staring or closing their eyes.
In all of them, a need is raised, to expose significance where it was considered as an “empty space”, silenced and covered below the surface of the acceptable representation manners.

A new image appears in this series – an image of a rabbit. Beyond the rabbit being a symbol of sexuality, it seems that its presence, passing away in a movement, represents the “foreigner” who is coming to alert, bring up from the subconscious the hidden memory, to mark a move in the time-span and interfere with an unexpected strangeness in the painting that forfeits place and time representations.

The interest in Gretz-Ran’s work is the importance of her creativity as fluid speech on mother-girl relationships of the “revival” generation as it appears in the creations of the artists: Michal Neeman, Nurit David and other artists.

Mothers who dealt in great loneliness with their suffering and couldn’t contain their daughters’ distresses. A second generation of daughters coped alone with childhood and adulthood, and in addition to this, they were burdened with the personal embodiment of expectations of motherhood, who were castrated by the family and ideological policy of their time. The silenced mourning of their dear ones’ loss in the holocaust was also lain on some of those mothers.
Haya Gretz adds intrigue to the equation: Women-Victim-homeland.”

Drora Dekel