Glass, Borsalino Hat, Water, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
WHERE I END AND YOU BEGIN
Bar Mayer and Stella Meris
Curated by Zack Helwa
Silbersteinstraße 133, 12051
“The Drive is toward unhooking from whom you are while simultaneously becoming only yourself.
Some people can sleep with their eyes open.
What does it do, this process of constantly discovering yourself?”
This Multimedia Installation exhibition of Bar Mayer and Stella Meris is an expression of the artist's uniquely parallel upbringing. Through an exploration of the material and ethereal – object, science, light, photography – we are asked to investigate identity, heritage, boundary, and history.
BAR MAYER is a multimedia artist based in Jerusalem. She grew up in an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community that she left eighteen years ago.
STELLA MERIS is a German/Swiss video artist with a fundamental Christian background based within a long history of a Templar family that settled in Haifa. She left her community about ten years ago.
A core element of their artistic dialogue is their exploration of power structures and controlling mechanisms within fundamentalist religious communities.
How is a system of values that divides all people into “good” and “bad” imposed? How do the religious leaders manifest their authority? What do rituals, actions, and speeches say about these isolated societies?
The religious communities Bar and Stella grew up in promoted their belief to be the only true way of living, and therefore a critical reflection about the absolute rightness of their views was utterly out of question. The often degrading ideas about non-Jewish, respectively non-Christian people were propagated by religious fundamentalism.
Bar and Stella both observed an attitude towards “the other”, the non-believers, that was picturing them as people who are “lacking something”, as people who either needed to be educated or avoided. A binary opposition that decried all non-Christian/non-Jewish cultures as incomplete was imposed, in order to define their own identity as superior and to gain power over the other.
The artists question the effect that religious ideology had on their own identity. Moving from religious family background to a non-religious lifestyle shows similarities to actual, physical migration. This raises the question “where meaningful knowledge is located.” Feeling torn between completely different value systems and cultural codes makes it impossible to express the answer to this question “in the terms of one regime or the other”. Finding oneself in between the religious and the non-religious culture is on the one hand confusing and challenging, as one lacks a language that could describe this place. There is interesting potential in this unknown space. Bar and Stella meet each other there.
Stella Meris (b.1990) is a Swiss and German video artist researching history, religion, and displacement. She’s born in 1990 in Basel, Switzerland, and since 2012 living and working in Berlin. Since 2013 she studies Fine Arts at UDK, Berlin. She also studied Fine Arts department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.
Bar Mayer (b.1983) works and lives in Tel Aviv. Graduated from the Fine Arts department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem (2017) and exhibited her works both in Israel and abroad. Her practice involves photo installation and film.
exhibition curated by Zack Helwa
shown at FK-Gallery Berlin