“Look into her eyes”

Ronit Elkabetz responds to questions from the portraits of artist Anne Glasstourer.

Opening 27-7-24

Anne is a portraitist who has been searching for years for the complex and penetrating figure of Ronit Elkabetz (1964-2016). In interviews with the media, Elkabetz frequently mentioned her desire “to find the many faces within us” and as an artistic artist, she feels compelled “to conduct a soul-searching journey in real time.”

Artist Anne Glasstourer testifies that her focus on Ronit’s portrait is a journey in pursuit of unlocking the secrets of her enigmatic and exposed persona. Who is Ronit Elkabetz, according to Anne?

Elkabetz, an actress, director, and screenwriter, is considered one of the great actresses in Israeli cinema and has also starred in French cinema and theater. She never studied acting and her unique costumes have made her an icon of fashion.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of receiving the French Legion of Honour, a series of works were selected that attempt to answer the question.

The scrutiny of the portraits in the exhibition is like watching a filmed interview. The colors and shades compose a penetrating examination of Ronit’s character, attempting to “solve the puzzle.” As the artist says, “Ronit, what are you hiding from us?”

The treatment of the precise portrait is akin to a documentary film. There are: the background, the camera angle, zoom in and zoom out, and a variety of means to ensure that we, the viewers, perceive a tremor, a wrinkle, or some expression in the silent but spoken story. It conveys quiet strength, sometimes suffering, and the suppressed hidden within the complexity of the feminine figure – the power of silence, the occasional pain, the repressed concealed.

“I am not afraid to use violent colors because you, too, have played/extracted the suffering of women in your roles.”

In her work, the artist brings additional nuances: after dismantling the components that create the heroine’s face, as a cinematic subject, she imparts a sudden feeling that the viewer, in fact, reverses the roles. The interviewee becomes the interviewer, looking at Ronit, asking us questions.

Anne, as a director, stops the scene and allows her patient’s portrait of Elkabetz to be treated with hundreds of touches of blue and a particularly wide range of colors, wondering about us – the viewers.

The gaze released with each touch on the canvas and through the conversation is an observer, a penetrator, an investigator, not comfortable. The visitor to the exhibition unexpectedly finds themselves in a situation.

The scrutiny around, like cameras, reveals us, peering into our innermost souls, “with an oblique gaze.” We can no longer evade the feeling of involvement or responsibility.

Conversely, the portrait becomes the interviewer, questioning us. It gazes at our wrinkles and the rich hues, attempting to capture our feelings. The composition is a reflection of our emotions.

The actress and model Ronit Elkabetz and Anne Glasstourer’s engagement with these portraits, set against the backdrop of new legislation in the Ministry of Culture and other related issues related to current events in Israel, and on the other hand, “the breaker of circles” in Israeli society, provide a renewed opportunity to look into the portrait within us.

Curator: Nili Sesler, Moti Harari

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