Stern Gallery, Tel Aviv
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Gil Haller – RELICS

Although it seems that figurative art is self-explanatory, Haller’s paintings present riddles that ‎require deciphering. He started collecting images after his parents passed away, both of them were ‎holocaust survivors. While clearing out their home he found boxes of carefully kept photos, each ‎representing a cherished memory that survived the war. Some photos are of known family members ‎but others are unidentifiable, leaving the artist to make up his own stories from these estranged but ‎nostalgic images. ‎
Haller became interested in historical images and began adding to his parents collection from old ‎magazines and internet sites. Like an archaeologist he removed his images from their original ‎context into his private archive, with the clear intention of using them as material for his art. ‎

The juxtaposition of images from various sources is not obvious and threatens the natural need for ‎coherency on the one hand, but on the other, activates the viewer as a narrator, forced to create his ‎own story. ‎

Indeed, there is no one story and as we are bombarded with images that are bundled together even ‎though not necessarily connected, we practice scrolling daily, and don’t even notice that diptychs ‎and triptychs have become part of our everyday visual language. Some of these paintings are ‎diptychs of the contemporary era – not side by side but Instagram-style – one image above the ‎other. ‎

This project offers a journey through time, through images imbued with historical meaning. Haller ‎places his art on the fine line between classic painting and a contemporary vision. The sharp ‎viewer will recognize classic themes such as the crucifixion, Isaac’s binding and of course the ‎classic still life. He will also notice that the artist created a distance between himself and the art ‎that eschews emotion. ‎

As objects of the past are the relics of today, thus objects of the present will be the relics of ‎tomorrow. ‎