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Amit Rubin

Sam Krauss and Adam Alezrah’s works have a deceptive quality. The forms are unidentified - strange. But in fact they are not completely abstract either. Similar to a shoe, a garment, a work tool, a cart, a curtain, an organ. The works are based on images that Adam and Sam collect from the city and the surroundings of their studio which is located near the new central station in Tel Aviv. They all have an inviting quality -  luring to touch. They are polished and fine, but they have lost the functionality they had and remained empty vessels.


A 'Busybody' is a person who is busy with matters that do not belong to him - unnecessary or excessive occupation. In Hebrew, the term translates to 'noob' and the noobs in this case are the artists themselves. Planted in a neighborhood where they are both local and foreign, they peer and follow passers-by, merchants and artisans, collecting moments and using them as inspiration. The literal translation of  'busy-body' fits their attraction to craft and their interest in concepts such as work and efficiency. They ask: What are bodies busy with? What is a proper, efficient - useful occupation? When they themselves are devoted to the inefficient activity that is art.


The artists, who also work separately but teamed up for this exhibition, play with the useful-artistic duo. They turn useful objects into sculptures: a curved Swedish key found in the pocket of "work pants", a huge sole of a shoe or a beautiful curtain that hides nothing. Does the uselessness of the objects increase or decrease their value? does it hurt or upgrade them?


To think about this question we can use Marx's distinction between use value and exchange value. The use value indicates the degree of efficiency of a product and the exchange value indicates its economic value in the market. Adam and Sam play with the economic paradox according to which the exchange value is often high precisely when the use value is low and vice versa, as in the case of diamonds and water. In the exhibition, when the objects become sculptures their use value is canceled but their exchange value increases, as works of art they acquire a prestigious aura. We look at them differently.


Two "bags" made of blue parchment paper carry body parts - a wooden armor and tongue. The style of the bags is reminiscent of industrial products, they are not made of jeans but look like the jeans we know with white seams on top of blue fabric. The attention that the artists give to the details reveals that despite our perception of mass and industrial production as cheap and impersonal, these stitches have an ornamentation and delicacy that illustrates the human handprint of a master craftsman. The insight that every industrial item we use in our day to day life was originally crafted by one specific person intrigues the artists, and in their work they follow the human handprint in things and the close relationship between art, craft and design.


The exhibition explores the intimate relationships that exist between humans and objects in our culture. The closeness and fit between the bag and the organ it carries, to the point where it is difficult to distinguish what is what - symbolizes the way in which objects today are created with a "user experience" in mind, in accordance to the body and later on the body itself develops fit to objects. Like in the case of the hand mouse that was made to fit the hand when later the movement of holding it became so natural to the hand. The object was created to fit the measurements of the person but the person, in turn, adapts himself to the measurements of the object.

Two prints hang on the walls and embody another motivation of the artists. These prints show images of everyday objects that are scattered on the page without hierarchy. Everything is equally beautiful and important, and the images communicate. There is beauty in randomness and maybe there is no randomness at all. Everything is close and intimate. Everything is useful. The bodies (human and non-human) shed some of their previous functions but take on new ones, constantly changing, expanding, growing, liquefying, condensing and loosening. always beautiful.

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