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Jennifer Abessira is a photographer who works in between Tel Aviv and Paris, but the actual site of her art is her Instagram account. She posts her palpable images daily, creating an intimate journal that belongs to the public. Privacy, for her, is not opposed to being in the open. She does not need a “room of her own,” a studio in which the world’s imposing presence – its noise and flux of images -- could be bracketed. She knows that artistic creation has a strange autonomy, one that is inseparable from the immanence of a life. “To be alive is to be on the alert, to constantly respond to the things I see, to be intensive.”
Intensity is the ABC of Abessira’s existence. And, her art is the best image of that intensity –just as “the human body is the best picture of the human soul” [Wittgenstein]. But, as Abessira knows, the truth of existence is ultimately paradoxical: the intensity of inner life can become meaningful only if it is expressed in form. It would otherwise remain void. And yet, precisely in taking on form, the Inner undergoes an essential change: it is inevitably transfigured, distorted, falsified. Expression is therefore not a re-presentation of a given authentic emotion, but a way of conjuring up an emotion in the already overcrowded space of daily images. This congested space is where Jennifer Abessira operates.
The fact that contemporary experience is inundated with an incessant flow of images is a starting point for her. “Images can all too easily hide the truth of things from us, but they are often our sole access to that truth.” Images – their shining, their beauty– are what she both loves and distrusts and this distrust and love is what her work constantly negotiates. She proceeds through constant attunement to what would be “the right image” in the right place and time. But the colorful images she creates are not about capturing the evanescent now and have nothing to do with photography’s nostalgia for the lost presence of bygone moments. Showing everyday objects, routine actions, minute and large scale architecture – as well as a multitude of image-appearances in books, magazines and TV screens -- her images refuse to pursue -- or idealize -- the authenticity of the instant. Instead, she wants her images to be active rather than reactive. She wants them to do actual work within the domain of the visual. For her, productive images have a purpose, which she understands a la Godard: “Il faut confronter les idées vagues avec des images claires.” Vague ideas hide the void from us. Clear images open up possibilities, new ways of feeling, speaking and acting vis-à-vis the impossible.
In Abessira’s life, her images function as a coordinate-system for managing the formless and chaotic. She has always been attracted to archives and archival work and, in this sense, “Instagram comes in easy, with the simple platform it provides for organizing things.” In her Instagram journal, chaos and void do not disappear. They are fully present. But, they appear through idiosyncratic modulations of order instantiated by a system of sardonic hashtags: #She Wanted to Die but She also Wanted to Live in Paris/ #A Girl is a Gun Peow Peow/ #Tel Aviv Forever/ # The Triumph of Vegetation is Total/ #Contribution to a Theory of Architecture, etc.
Abessira carefully tags her images. Her hashtags are the verbal seams of a multi-leveled visual matrix. Encountering her work, we look at a new atlas of images that dreams of an infinite catalogue while speaking to us in an intensity that cannot be represented.
Prof. Hagi Kenaan,
Head of Philosophy Department – Tel Aviv University
C-print, 2nd July 2015
Jennifer Abessira is a compelling mixed media artist based in Tel Aviv where she recently graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Absorbed by her ongoing Elastique project on social media, one arising from the Internet and dictated by the condition of not working in a studio which paves way for, as she says, a spontaneous approach towards making imagery, we got in touch with Jennifer to learn more. ...
Dazed, 10th April 2015
While we watch on as Soho is culturally flattened as the closure of some of its key (see: institutionall) venues hits an all-time high, a new opening is perhaps the last thing we thought we’d see. Defying this debasing of Soho is Soho Revue, a new contemporary art gallery opening on Greek Street with the aim to “get a bit of the old Soho back”. “By pushing the art scene away from the centre of London, the city faces the risk of losing its artistic ...
Born 1984 in Paris, France. Lives and works in Tel-Aviv.
2015 || MFA Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design
2011|| M.A, Interdisciplinary Art, Faculty of the Arts in the University of Tel Aviv
2009 || Bauhaus School at Weimar, Dessau and Berlin in honor of 90 years of the Bauhaus movement
2008 || B.A, History and French Literature, Faculty of Humanities in the University of Tel Aviv
2017 || Don’t Think Twice - Public Exhibition at the London Bridge Station, London
2016 || La Tangente - The Impossible Project, Paris
2015 || HOWHY - in collaboration with Telavivian, Romano, Tel Aviv
2015 || Alone Together – MFA graduate show
2014 || We Live as we dream – Alone, ArtStation, Tel Aviv
2012 || Elastique, Curated by Boaz Aharonovitch at Indie Gallery, Tel Aviv
2019 || #London Is Open | London City Hall | Curated by MTArt for Dazed & Confused
2018 || Always Duty Free | Artists Residence | Herzliya
2018 || Tel Aviv Museum of Art + Teder | Tel Aviv
2018 || The Soap Cried a Lot | Al Hatsouk | Netanya
2018 || Au Soleil | Galerie Agathe Gaillard | Paris
2016 || Fragments Of | during the Frieze art fair at Castel Gibson | London
2015 || Yesterday We Wanted To Be The Sky | Kamarade | Stockholm
2015 || Nothing Perishes | Soho Revue | London
2014 || The Disappearing of Light | The Artists House | Tel Aviv
2013 || Goods | Curator : Joshua Simon | Moby Museum | Bat Yam
2013 || Patchbox Project 2nd edition | Rome
2013 || La Culture #8 | Gordon 2 | Tel Aviv
2013 || Time Is Love #6 | International Video Art Program curated by Kisito Assangni | Teheran - New York - Amsterdam
2012 || Random | Baad Reservoir | Bezalel Academy od Art & design | Tel-Aviv
2012 || Black Box Project | An outdoor exhibition on publicity signs | Jerusalem
2012 || Fresh Print | Feinberg Projects | Tel-Aviv
2012 || Free Admission, Shay Arye Gallery | Tel-Aviv
2012 || 1+1 | Ba’alie Hamelaha Gallery | Tel-Aviv
2012 || Essen Magazine food exhibition at Triennale Milan
2012 || What’s Next?, curated by Girlcore at KK Outlet | London
2012 || BAAD Influence | Baad Reservoir (Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design) | Tel-Aviv
2012 || The Irreconcilable, curated by Guy Yanai, Spaceship at Hayarkon 70, Tel Aviv | With Jonas Wood, Avner Ben Gal, Tal R, Matt Phillips, and Guy Yanai
2012 || E.A.T, a.m.a.t.a (Italien Friends of the Tel Aviv Meuseum of Art) Palazzo Lombradia, Milano
2011 || Possibility of a Book, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
2013 || Mifal Hapais grant for an exhibition in Israel or abroad
2018 || Factory | Bat Yam
2016 || La Cite Internationale des Arts | Paris
2012 || Peila Residency, non-profit organization, appropriated by Sari Golan Sarig and Gaby Ron | Tel Aviv
BOOKS / CATALOGS
2014 || Night Shots Zine published by MOOOOON
2012 || Elastique Zine published by Pogo Books.
2011 || University (collaboration with Guy Yanai) published by Possibility of a Book.
2011 || 100 Days of Active Resistance, published by Damiani & Vivienne Westwood
ART FAIRS & AUCTIONS & OTHERS
2018 || Print Screen Festival, Design Museum Holon
2015 || Avenir Magazine & Sotheby’s , London
2013 || Fresh Paint, Israel
WORK RELATED ACTIVITIES
2019 || Interview for France Culture radio station in occasion of the 100 years of Bauhaus.
2009 - 2015 || Chief Coordinator and Writer of MAARVON journal, from the Maayan group. Maarvon is Israel’s leading film journal.
2007 - 2014 || Co Producer of the French Film Festival in Israel. In conjunction with Eden Cinema and the French Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv.