A Desire Path Pushing Through a Minefield contemplates the connection between land and body, memory and circumstance, and how all these are intertwined whilst attempting to understand our place within the geopolitical landscape of Israel-Palestine. In a series of self-portraits, Addam Yekutieli reflects on the notions of borders and the effect that they have on us, geographically, physically and psychologically.
Imagining contested regions such as Jerusalem, Hebron and Gaza as different areas of his body, at the center of each piece/pose is a map, torn along borderlines only to be sewn back together as if attempting to mend an open wound.
The borderlines expand, breaching out of the frame and into the space around the folded map. The portrayal of them as a haphazard, ungovernable and autonomous force raises questions on how they often seem to have an abstract presence in our lives, yet in fact directly touch us, separating us from not only others, but from our own selves.
Over the past 5 years, Yekutieli has been documenting scars on the bodies of Israelis and Palestinians and collecting testimonies in which they share anecdotes and origin stories, ranging from the personal and daily to the political and severe.
The text in these works are composed of extracts from these testimonials, each line belonging to someone else. Recontextualized, new connections are created and ‘accidental poems’ formed, like meditations on the broad and existential.
The landscape images in these pieces are made up from abstracted body parts, based on the photographs of each participant and the scars on their skin. A torso becomes hills, the palm of a hand, a setting sun. Our landscape is composed of those living on it, within it, like a container holding and retaining memories- our pain, fears, trauma, nostalgia absorbed into its body, shaping its surface.
As scars define the most intimate aspects of our relationships with our own bodies, borders function not only as reference points through which we understand where we stand in relation to the other, but also guide us as to where our potential meeting points are.
The title of the exhibition references the urban planning term ‘desire paths’, that is used to describe unsanctioned and unplanned walking paths that are formed out of necessity. Intuitive pathways that deviate from a designated route.
On one hand the flowers featured in these pieces are bent, twisted and broken by the material confining them. On the other, they are finding their way through the cracks, persisting through circumstance, maintaining their fragile nature from within the brutal environment that they’re in.
Through the works in this exhibition, Yekutieli seeks not only to understand how as an individual he navigates his environment, but also identify both where the collective meeting points and breaking points are.
What separates us, but more importantly what is inherently common, and with that to imagine a horizon that we can all envision and walk towards.