Instead of a catalogue text, Dorit Figovitch Goddard has suggested to write "Good bye, and all the best!" raising an age old quandary about the almost obsessive desire to exchange the unmediated experience of looking at art with textual intermediaries and verbal crutches. Although we may be dealing with one of many candid, open-ended suggestions for reading an exhibition, considering the liberality of the postmodern interpretative diapason, a slight moral qualm often creeps to the theoretization of the sensory and the instinctual as well as to the metaphoric appropriation of the recently-declared-dead author's "legacy."
As in her daily studio routine – in which she introduces drawings, carved wooden heads, stumped books, gilded miniatures on moldings, syntactical elements, mathematical terms, etc. into an unruly scene – Figovitch Goddard is creating an enclave of piled up works, mostly site-specific, which keep attesting to the material unstitched process of their gathering even in their temporary abode, established and respected as it may be. Into a large bricolage, whose material and ideational components fill up the exhibition space and seem to be lacking a common denominator, or randomly selected, she intertwines different stories in multifaceted, grotesque overflow of defying wittiness that apparently enhances the artificial, arbitrary and sometimes ironic nature of the ensemble.
In this way, the coherent chain of meanings disintegrates and its non-homogeneous disiecta membra combine into a fragmented cluster of autonomous works whose interspaces create a distance in time, place and matter. Thus despite the rich content of each work and the stylistic tension between them and in light of the artist's utter rejection of descriptiveness, even in its minor form as a title, it would seem that any attempt at offering a unifying narrative is doomed from the outset.
And here a paradox, as it were, comes in: given the reliance of a considerable part of Figovitch Goddard's body of work on literary sources, such as the Greek eposes, the Bible and Agnon's stories, one cannot but wonder how can it be that something so fraught with textual and semantic references (including the very title of the exhibition, "Lightly Wounded," as code name for a common terminology) refuses to abide by any narrative discipline. The answer lies perhaps in the synthesis she creates between different genres or in her juxtapositions of works of opposing styles such as a wall relief depicting the Homeric scene of Achilles dragging Hector's body and the quote a "piece of your robe in my hand" referencing the biblical struggle between Saul and David. At issue here are two literary formulas or two opposing "basic types" as Erich Auerbach's analysis in Mimesis defines them. On the one hand, the Homeric epos with its thick descriptions is narrowly formed, illuminating all phenomena in a uniform, non-hierarchic way, allowing free expression, and refraining from in depth discussion of the human problem. On the other hand, the lean and economical biblical story highlights certain parts while leaving others obscure and, despite its fragmentariness, develops the concept of historically becoming and delves into the problematic of the human condition.
Another possible key for reading Figovitch Goddard works and practices could be found in Jean-Paul Sartre's account of the Flaubertian sentence in What is Literature?: "His sentence surrounds the object, seizes it, immobilizes it and breaks its back, changes into stone and petrifies the object as well. It is blind and deaf, without arteries; not a breath of life. A deep silence separates it from the sentence which follows; it falls into the void, eternally, and drags its prey along in this infinite fall. Once described, any reality is stricken from the inventory; one moves on to the next."
So indeed, good bye, and all the best!
 Jean-Paul Sartre, What is Literature? Translated from the French by Bernard Frechtman (New York: Philosophical Library), pp. 130-1.
צילום: מידד סוכובולסקי
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