Works by Noa Eshkol in Sydney

May 25, 2016 by J-Wire
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Wall carpets created by Noa Eshkol, the daughter of Israel’s third Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, are on display during Sydney’s current Biennale.

The influential choreographer, dancer, researcher and textile artist created with Avraham Wachman the Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation in the 1950s– a thinking tool for recording and studying movement – which remained the cornerstone of her studies, and an ongoing subject for her whole life. Initially conceived as a way for choreographers to record and transmit a dance, the system is now used in a variety of fields, from physical therapy to animal behaviour,

Noa Eshkol

Noa Eshkol

Eshkol first began making Wall Carpets during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, when the only male member of her Chamber Dance Group, Shmulik Zaidel, was conscripted into the army. This led Eshkol to suspend work with her other dancers saying: ‘this is no time to dance, we shall wait until the war is over’.

The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons

Then she began assembling and pinning cloth remnants onto a blanket, later sewing them by hand; the result was the first of her textile assemblages. From then on, Eshkol only ever worked with found materials, beginning with her own clothes and scraps gathered from around the house. Once she exhausted her own stocks, she began searching further afield – kibbutzim across Israel sent their leftovers, and her dancers gathered offcuts

The Creation

The Creation

from factories. This explains the repetition of shapes in the works; the negatives of identifiable garment parts such as shirt collars or sleeve openings, for example, appear frequently.

Created with pieces of uncut cloth – anything from kaffiyahs to uniform remnants – the elaborate compositions were stitched together by Eshkol’s dancers. Variously layered, folded, or collaged, she never used scissors to alter her source material, leaving much to chance and to the mood of any particular given day. While eventually resuming her work in dance, Eshkol continued making Wall Carpets, passionately and prolifically, for the rest of her life. It has been debated whether the artist saw any parallels between her work in movement and in textile, and yet in different ways, both reflect her interest in the laws of geometry and kinetics, alongside the rootedness of her practice in the rituals of collaborative activity. Ranging from the figurative to the abstract, Eshkol’s unusual tapestries cast new light on a unique relationship between choreography and visual art.

Noa Eshkol was born in Kibbutz Dagania Bet in 1924 and died in Holon, Israel in 2007.

MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art Australia), 140 George Street, The Rocks. Open daily 10 am–5 pm (Thursdays until 9 pm). Until June-05.

Free entry.


One Response to “Works by Noa Eshkol in Sydney”
  1. LIZZIE MOORE says:

    Loved everything about this article! Todah rabah for publishing it. [Lizzie via Bendigo, Vic]

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