Residency: Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design
Anthony E. Stellacio, an American artist in residency at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, travelled extensively in the greater Middle East prior to his residency. His work ‘Lean’ is a hybrid manifestation of historical and contemporary elements from the built environment – recalling rock niches of ancient Petra, contemporary water tanks and military watch towers. Its form and surface treatment of gravel and concrete allude to aggressive practices of engagement. In a recent interview the artist explained that the creation process was very instinctive and the form is a ‘subconscious’ response to his experiences in Israel and the region.
Within the exhibition, ‘Lean’ acts as a phallic sentinel as it lies in a corner; mute, defrocked and immobilized by large wedges. At the same time, the sculpture is highly present and actively interferes with the gallery space. It engages with works by Eva Avidar, Modisa (Tim) Motsomi, Oren Arbel and Naom Tabenkin Arbel and Corwyn Lund, that literally or metaphorically evoke bodies and their reception. Stellacio’s inclined member is a complex and contradictory ode to virility and castration, victory and defeat, within this volatile, highly militarized region.