Shenhav’s works invite the spectator to tour through paths filled with destruction and ruin, and as such, poses challenges to familiar ways of observing, expanding the horizons of preconceived notions of beauty. Consequently, passing through the bodies of cut down trees unravels sites of deficiency. Axis which cuts through periods and territories, intersections devoid of consolation, all dominated by disaster. This is a poetry which searches for a way of listening to that which can not be heard immediately, quantified and classified with scientific apparatus, and organized into reasonable categories. It does not provide an explanation, and does not endeavor to exchange one thing for the other, it does not withdraw into the identical, but allows moments of proximity, closeness, the simultaneous appearance of a thing and its opposite as evidence of a complex experience which is full of contradictions.
We can also begin to read Shenhav’s work from a place of correspondence with creative and literary traditions which by default contain a form of criticism and negation. In the sense that although the damaged body, the cut down tree, the image of the glass shard or the broken stone, a piece of the sponge— all of these are irreparable, they cease to give into past sorrows. They appear as amputated limbs, devoid of life, composed of sponge and cut down tree trunks which are meticulously arranged according to shape and size.
The piece, End of the forest—the continuation or completion of an earlier piece titled Dog (2001)—suggests an absence of life. These names or objects allude to Albrecht Durer’s bronze etching. In his etching Melencholia I (1514), the figure of a woman wrapped in wings sits bent over and still, with an expression of hopelessness and cessation on her blackened face. A whining dog lies on the ground with a crystal cast by her side. The etching, like Shenhav’s sculpture, connects between despondent and hopeless drawings generated from inanimate objects, and geometrical, mathematical scenarios or mystical configurations and measuring devices, all a part of the same negative prophecy concerning the false promise of the world of technology.
Text: Michal Ben-Horin, from: Paths of Destruction