Talia Tokatly – Israel

Talia Tokatly’s installation, ‘Fox Laughs’ evokes a poetic world of associative dialogues and is a wry, feminist reference to Ted Hugh’s famous poem, ‘The Thought Fox’. The Hebrew title, שועל צוחקת involves a linguistic play on the gender of words, associating a masculine fox with the feminine conjugation of laugh. This playfully subversive title, with its allusion to androgyny, poetry and trickery serves as an evocative introduction to the work. A cacophonous, poetic ensemble of iconic Hebrew books and manuals, dolls of kibbutzniks and sultry Arab ladies selling pitas, carved tusks, ironically restored souvenirs and other apparently whimsical bric-a-brac speak of travel, dislocation, memory and exoticism. Her careful intervention within the Benyamini library dialogues subversively with the ceramics archive, as a shrine of factual narratives, monolithic and canonical surveys of slick, whole ceramic forms. Tokaly’s ‘foxy’ presence in this space creates a symbolic instability of form and language, explores rupture and restoration, issues of translation and ‘lost in translation’.  Tokatly is a trickster, and her installation offers a space of radical transformation that mixes the past and present, colonial and post-colonial objects, facts and fictions, creating a new polysemic language and ways of seeing the world. Her delicate pastiche of intertextual chaos reflects the unstable pluralism of contemporary Israeli society.

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