Compound (linguistics) a word that consists of more than one radical element
Compound (chemistry) a combination of two or more elements
Compound (fortification) a fortified enclosure with defensive structures
Compound (enclosure) a cluster of buildings having a shared purpose, usually inside a fence or wall
This exhibition of artist Eyal Ben-Simon uses many languages, both spoken and visual, for discussing conflict in general, and specifically - the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
It uses many means of expression - visual images, photography, painting, sculpture, video art and language.
Eyal Ben-Simon implements all available means and measures to convey a message.
The photographs that are treated as iconic images are confined to black, white and red.
Black and white stand for simplicity, intensity and contrast, and idioms with black and white refer to official truth and clear cut contrast. They are actually considered non-colors so it can be said that the items have only one color. There seem to be no need to spell out in words the connotation of the RED color and its impact when experienced visually against the black and white background.
The series of portraits called Leaders uses textual matter (Arabic and Hebrew) as a painting material, using a traditional typeface, which is also used in newspapers. Some of the images include silhouettes of armed figures and the red stains add to the violent atmosphere.
The series called Conflict consists of a dual compound, each includes a human figure covered with cloth (can be an orthodox, well covered Muslim woman or an orthodox Jewish man covered by a prayer shawl) and an object.
The different modes and textures of the different textile covers and objects, some of which, covered by cement, the textual material – all created a chemical compound, combining the elements to create a multilayered utterance.
The use of letters for creating a visual image is an old tradition in both Hebrew and Arabic cultures. An art form called Micrography, using minute letters for form images, was developed in the 9th century by Jews as a way to go around the Fourth Commandment: "Non facies tibi sculptile neque omnem similitudinem quae est in caelo desuper et quae in terra deorsum nec eorum quae sunt in aquis sub terra" Exodos 20:4. This ban on using images of humans and animals is also present in Islam and the art of arabesque and calligraphy is a very well known and developed form of art. It is interesting to indicate that the portraits on current Israeli paper money notes implement micrography.
Using letters and texts as a medium both in the photographs and in the video-art and the sculptures that are created by applying a coat of cement on books, convey a message regarding the possibility of communication.
Letters, words, declarations, texts – all are means of communication but can be used to set apart.
The coating of object in cement is connected to the use of the word Compound as something surrounded by a wall. Concrete, which is a substance used for construction and fortification, also literally means solid and basic.
The Sisyphean circle of the actions depicted in the video-art, symbolizes the vicious circle experience endured by people on both sides living through the conflict.