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Creating idiosyncratic scenarios through a diversity of media, Nadav Weissman elicits powerful fictions that complicate idealized notions of self, family life and security in a radically uncertain world.

His works, which are mostly large installations comprising sculptures, painting, familiar objects, videos and different kinds of constructions, pose questions about the boundaries between inside and outside, inner world and outer world, reality and fiction, and the presumption and tenability of their disjunction, the gap between them. Weissman's practice is always psychologically charged, usually revolving around the familiar and the close at hand.

In Riding Lessons the conventional and idealized concepts of "family", "childhood" and "adulthood" resonate to expose some sort of simulacrum, a series of fragment representing only appearances of selves without meaning, contest, history or form; a perturbing and yet childlike journey through the lived experience of fragmentation.

Nadav Weissman offers us a setting with allegorical foundation verging on the enigmatic and puerile rather than the comical. It is precisely the connection between a playful, tender childish world and an adult awareness that reflects the distance between the game of living and the experiential intensity of surviving within the continuing and haunting indeterminacy of being. His characters are immersed in a world with no clear boundaries, making it impossible to decipher where are they coming from and where are they going.

The "western" landscape and its references are only a utopian projection (America) of the consciousness caught in the inexorable anguish of territory and borderlines (Israel), knowing nothing of cohesiveness of wholeness. And yet, these characters exist as if they were natural forces. The more you look at them, the more they mutate from a parody or cartoon into a melancholic allegory about the human condition. The four male figures look as if they were the same character in different situations of positions. They almost look like grown-up kids, sitting on the floor, crawling or standing, respectively playing with bones or holding a horse's head. There is something guarded and afflicted in their silence.

There is something disconsolate, disappointing, in the paused activities, in their held routines. They are all about growth (the relentless growth of nails in the video), delving into its possibilities and senselessness of the process of growing up. Like Sisyphus, they seem to be dealing with the futility of our actions, perhaps with the inescapability of our actions. But Riding Lessons is not a narrative but a state of mind. For this work is not about events. It is, perhaps, a work of greater themes; maybe a work of grief, of how we encounter and bargain with unavoidable absence, playing out our desires in this other, loveless reality.


-- Octavio Zaya


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