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2019   Between man and Place, Final Exhibition Bezalel, Jerusalem.
Curator: Meltz Peter Jacob,  Gordon Irena.

Michael Beck: Between Man and PlaceMichael Beck creates a minimalist, reductive, and restrained code. Through reduction, images emerge that represent an event with very high density. The freezing of particular moments into abstract and universal representations creates a tension between the intensity of the captured moment and the feeling that this is "empty time," a time in which nothing seemingly happens. In the works, there are traces of presence peeking through disappearance and silence, traces that call the viewer to surrender to the temporary elements, the fabric, the material mass, and the emotional density. What initially appears to be an aesthetic concern bordering on design or a formalist-minimalist mood turns out to be concrete, particular, and very personal. In the space, a turntable is playing music that Michael performs with his friends. However, the sounds emanate from another work, a kind of minimalist painting located in a different area of the space. On another wall, a print of the same record is revealed. The experience of listening to the music, which in the collective knowledge signifies feelings of closeness and unity, is thus offered in the space also as carrying within it loneliness and separation. Similarly, one can read the wall on which multiple fabric panels are neatly arranged; the expanses of the Jezreel Valley, full of pathos plowed by Michael's feet, seem to replicate and organize themselves as independent, solitary units, like dozens of eyes gazing at the possibility of harmony between the artist and his native soil. To the side observer, not intimate with Michael's valley experiences, his walking seems random, from here to there. But the objects woven into the space remind us that the journey is not accidental: the broken bed, the child fascinated by the stone, the glass spears pointing direction; perhaps a collection of objects gathered on a journey, perhaps an invitation

– a demand? – for viewers to embark on their wanderings. The exhibition before us demands high sensitivity from the viewer, lest it be read as the artist's interest in clean and calculated formalism. We are faced with a lyrical work that takes familiar practices from the art world and uses them for an intimate message that is the very opposite of formalism; Michael infuses the basic, chiseled, and polished form with childhood and youth that are not schematic at all. Viewing the work is an experience of a turning poem where Michael invites us to find with him points of contact and creates for us – and him – a place to dwell in, a space to walk in.

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