installation Shots



Neta Harari Navon A Cocoon Fantasy

The term “Cocoon of Fantasy” was coined by the Jungian psychoanalyst Donald Kalsched, who explored the dreams and fantasies of people who suffered early trauma, while those who were supposed to protect and take care of them were noticeably absent. Kalsched observed that the ruptured psyche of these people created archetypal figures of sorts, inner beings with mythical powers, whose role was to protect the self and keep it from re-experiencing the devastating experiences of the past. These figures were, on the one hand, supportive, caring, protective and nourishing and, on the other hand, destructive and brutal. They had tremendous power and status, in part because they did not evolve with the rest of the self that progressed and adapted to the world, and so in fact remained trapped in a detached fantasy world.

The figures painted in this exhibition reference Baroque sculptures of Greek and Roman mythology. Powerful marble sculptures of larger-than-life mythological figures, captured at the height of movement and emotion but remain frozen, stiff, trapped in stone: Bernini’s sculptures of Daphne trying to escape the god Apollo and transforming into a laurel tree.  Additionally, the abduction of Persephone by the god of the underworld, the powerful Heracles with his beloved Deianira in a sculpture by Finelli, the old satyr Silenus and the Dionysian retinue celebrating the pleasures of life in a sculpture by Jules Dalou, Queen Dido who took her own life when her lover sailed away.

We could think of the painting as a body, when the act of painting touches its skin. Michelangelo painted his self-portrait as the flayed skin of St. Bartholomew in the Sistine Chapel’s “Last Judgment,” linking the painter with skinning. Titian portrayed himself watching the flaying of the satyr Marsyas as punishment for his lust for life. The relationship between the artist’s skin and the act of painting is a recurring theme in art. The skin is the casing; a thin membrane that separates us from the outside world, allowing certain things to pass through and enter us, maintaining equilibrium. We can also think of painting in this vein.

Neta Harari Navon explained the technique of this exhibition in the following words.  The technique of peeling the painting’s layers emerged when I covered a painting with gesso (the acrylic material used as a base coat in preparing the substrate for oil painting), wishing to erase it and start over. When I sanded the gesso, pieces that did not adhere to the painting began to peel off. And so, I started covering old paintings and exposing fragments of them; painting new ones and concealing them too. While working, I did not know which areas will be concealed and which will be exposed.

Covering and revealing the layers of painting created enclaves of time and events. Detached bulbs of life were discovered, sinkholes opened and hidden figures floated to the surface. Others sank, absorbed into the gesso, becoming no more than echoes of themselves. Something peeled and fell off and something emerged, movement started to form. Imagination and movement are in fact the polar opposite of a cocoon of fantasy.

Neta Harari Navon
Curator: Yaron Haramati