Studio Gallery Tel Aviv 'Batia Shani: I speak Gibberish to You'

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Studio Gallery Tel Aviv 'Batia Shani: I speak Gibberish to You'
Batia Shani, Untitled, 2023-2024. Photo: Ran Erda.

TEL AVIV.- The exhibition "I speak Gibberish to You" by artist Batia Shani was supposed to open at Studio Gallery Tel Aviv in October 2023. Shani worked on it for over a year, the selected works have already arrived at the studio framed and placed, ready to be hung in the exhibition space. Then came October 7th, and the war, and all that was before fell silent. According to the artist, whose focus in the current exhibition deals with language, she feels that words have been cut off and disconnected from her, as if they can no longer express feelings and thoughts. Other signs express what the words no longer succeed in, and create a kind of gibberish language alternative to the familiar language.

With no accompanying words, Shani immersed herself in Sisyphean embroidery work that was like murmurs of a strengthening and soul-saving prayer. The recurring preoccupation with old and used fabrics that the wounding needle and penetrating threads breathe new life into has become a protected space for thought and a shield for the heart. A selection of these new works has been added to the current exhibition.

The private fabrics that absorb everything manage to be reborn here, breathe again and come to life in a different reality. The connection between language and the craft of weaving is ancient. Even in classical culture, the craft of weaving served as an allegory for the poet's work of weaving words, sailing through the vastness of language and sewing words to create a poem. This connection arises in an original way from the works of Batia Shani. In her embroidery work, she gives meanings to a gibberish language in which memories float and thoughts arise that are revealed in letters, syllables, numbers and words. Even the substrate of old fabrics on which she deliberately chooses to embroider is full of layers loaded with meanings. Upholstery fabrics, sheets, blankets, tablecloths and tears of clothes that served her and her family for years, and in them life itself is embedded-desires, dreams disappointments, injuries, days of sickness and mourning, moments of happiness, joy and sadness. Shani deals with the essence of language and the tissue of thought.

In her works, human tissue becomes a thread embroidery in which thought and words are captured together to compose a single language. her systematic act of creation is based on knowledge and freedom. These together allow her a poetic thought anchored in framing rules. The threads she weaves capture ideas and memories and are woven into a new universe that protects their existence.

Batia Shani is a multidisciplinary artist whose embroidery is a leading and dominant component of her works. born in Haifa and currently lives and works in Milan, London, New York and Tel Aviv. Shani grew up in a family where sewing was a profession. Her grandfather was a tailor, and her aunt sews costumes for the theater. She studied at the Faculty of Arts Hamidrasha, graduated from the Royal Academy of Embroidery in London, graduated from the School of Social Work at the University of Haifa, and worked for many years as a rehabilitation and care worker for bereaved families. In her works, Shani focuses on laborious handicraft techniques in which she has specialized, such as sewing, knitting and embroidery. Batia Shani's works are exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Israel and abroad, including at the Haifa Museum of Art, Fresh Paint, art fairs in Basel, New York and London (curator: Tamar Drezdner), Gallery M2 Tokyo, Saatchi Gallery in London and more. In June 2024, a retrospective of her work will open at the University of Haifa (curator: Sharon Poliakine).

The exhibition will be on view until August 31, 2024

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