May 25–October 24, 2016: Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd, Tel Aviv – Israel.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is pleased to present From her wooden sleep…,a large-scale installation made by renowned German-born, Canadian artist-curator Ydessa Hendeles in 2013. First mounted at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in 2015 (curator: Philip Larratt-Smith), Hendeles has now developed her tightly choreographed “tableau vivant” specifically for TAMA’s Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art. Hendeles’s narrative unfolds for TAMA over three galleries, with a suggestive new departure referencing the apocryphal but deeply entrenched story of the veil of Saint Veronica from Christ’s Passion and a new ending in a mysterious crypt-like space. Central to From her wooden sleep… is a remarkable and unique collection of more than 150 wooden artists’ manikins assembled by the artist over 20 years. Ranging in date from 1520 to 1930 and in scale from palm-size to life-size, the manikins in the central gallery surround a lone figure nakedly exposed to their collective gaze. The intense scenario casts viewers as outsiders—or, at least, as bystanders—in a society defined by some basic characteristics they do not share.
From her wooden sleep… continues Hendeles’s exploration through art, artefacts, found objects and audio of difference and diversity, and the way representation and distortion, appropriation and assimilation can filter group and individual identities. The title of the exhibition is taken from Florence K. Upton’s best-selling 1895 children’s book, The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a “Golliwogg,” about the nocturnal Christmas Eve adventures of two woodenpeg dolls and the first black protagonist in English picture books. Created and named by Upton, Golliwogg became a much-loved character despite his relationship to prevalent racial stereotypes acceptable at the time. Only the teddy bear eclipsed his far-reaching popularity, and his celebrity even bridged the divide between popular culture and high art in the “Golliwogg’s Cakewalk,” the most popular movement in Claude Debussy’s Children’s Corner suite. In the mid-20th century, however,the character becamea controversial symbol of racism, his very name used as a racist slur. In this revised staging of From her wooden sleep…, the Golliwogg figure is the secular starting point for Hendeles’s pointed presentation of the way shared values and belief systems play out in cultural and social dynamics—for better and for worse.

Ydessa Hendeles: Born in 1948 in Marburg, Germany, to Polish-Jewish Auschwitz survivors, Hendeles moved to Toronto with her parents in 1951. She has gained an international reputation as a pioneering exponent of curating as a creative artistic practice, and, deliberately erasing the lines between collector, curator and artist, has fashioned her own distinctive space in the contemporary art world. Recent exhibitions include: Marburg! The Early Bird! at the Marburger Kunstverein (2010); The Wedding (The Walker Evans Polaroid Project) at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York (2011); and THE BIRD THAT MADE THE BREEZE TO BLOW at Galerie Johann König in Berlin (2012). In 2003, Hendeles guest-curated Partners at the Haus der Kunst, Munich, a 16-gallery exhibition that also included her own work, Partners (The Teddy Bear Project). This work is built around an archive of family-album photographs, each including the image of a teddy bear. Acquired on eBay, the photographs are composed into 122 narrative typologies and displayed alongside vitrines containing antique teddy bears with photographs of their original owners. Partners (The Teddy Bear Project) was first shown at the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation in Toronto in 2002, and was later remounted in Noah’s Ark by the National Gallery of Canada (2004) and 10,000 Lives, the 2010 Gwangju Biennale, South Korea. It is slated for a further showing in The Keeper at New York’s New Museum, opening in July 2016.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art: Israel’s foremost modern and contemporary art museum, welcomes close to 650,000 visitors annually. Established in 1932 by Tel Aviv’s first mayor, the Museum has developed into a complex of four buildings in the very heart of Israel’s vibrant cultural metropolis. Tel Aviv Museum of Art mounts over 30 exhibitions annually. In addition to viewing its renowned collection and world-class exhibitions by international and Israeli artists, visitors also enjoy the Museum’s rich array of cultural events, including concert series, performances, dance, films and educational programs for children and adults.

Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art: Inaugurated in 1959 and built by Rechter Architects and Karmi Architects, the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art was envisioned as the first phase of the museum’s transition to a home of its own. Considered in Israel one of the most prestigious places for an artist to show, the pavilion encloses an autonomous three-level gallery space for changing exhibitions of contemporary art. The Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art forms an integral part of Tel Aviv’s Cultural Square, along with the Charles Bronfman Auditorium, home of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and Habima, the national theater.