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Sanctity in a Disposable plate

Exhibition- Sanctitry in a Disposable plate
Artist- Ben Bejerano
On Ben Bejerano’s new series
By: Neta Gal Atzmon

The interface between sacred and secular is the central theme in Ben Bejerano’s new
series of work.
This body of work lies along the seam between secular and religious attitudes and
conduct from Bejerano’s perspective, as Ben himself notes, caught up as he is in a
journey of closer attachment to, and immersion in, the religious lifestyle. Past works
admittedly delved into Biblical narratives and religious motifs (Cain, Noah’s Ark, the
Tower of Babel, the Exodus from Egypt). But if, in the past, Bejerano related to such
content from a safe distance, as he terms it, and from a simplistic, somewhat
caricaturist approach, currently he is exploring the world of religious content as part
of his own significant, essential and deep transition between the two worlds.
Destruction has always been a motif running like a thread through almost all
Bejerano’s works, nor is it absent from this new series. In the past, however, its
presence was senses as an apocalyptic atmosphere represented by the destroyed
landscape, city or body. Here, on the other hand, it is deeply linked to the process of
Teshuva, a return to Jewish values by readopting the actions which express those
values. The destruction explored here is that of Bejerano’s own internal foundations
undergoing replacement by keenly critical self-observation, the continuous inquiring
that goes hand in hand with psycho-emotional reckoning, and a shedding of former
modes of thinking.
Interestingly, the new series of paintings does not aim to express a lofty perception of
the values of this new-old world Bejerano is entering but rather, his deliberations,
difficulties, occasional bouts of despair, the habitual actions which threaten to shatter
the sense of sought-after spirituality. Thus, images linked to the praying figure
represented by the dismantling Tallit (prayer shawl) are actually expressing the aspect
of secularity and its ongoing daily encounter with shared prayer services and study of
sacred texts.
The simplistic folksy aspect, absent of any visual representation of the sublime, is
represented by the common Keter brand plastic table, by cigarette butts and an old,
dripping air conditioner, by cheap refreshments and a blinking neon light. These and
similar elements converge into that desired moment of sanctity, enfolded into a
format reminiscent of postcards or ornamental festival greeting cards. And it’s in

these very elements and similar others, Bejerano is telling us, that he finds the
internal dimension, the spiritual, the elusive, becoming revealed to him

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