Curator: Gili Zaidman
Videographer: Neta Moses
Video Editor: Tamar Lev On
Photography: In collaboration with Ruvi Barmatz
Venue: Studio of Her Own Gallery, כט בנובמבר 10, Jerusalem
“Year of the Almond” is an installation documenting a year in the life of an almond grove with the personal and cultural associations symbolized by the almond tree – as the first tree to blossom, and the last to ripen. Yehudis Barmatz observes nature’s cycle alongside the generations of her own family tree, depicting her mother, her daughter, and herself.
The multimedia installation includes a framed embroidery work by Barmatz’s mother, brass-covered almond shells, shell-like ceramic elements, and blossoms of dry acrylic. Almond shells – some gilded – are dispersed on the floor. The video projected on the wall catches visitors’ eyes as does the glint of brass and gold, accompanied by the crunching of the shells underfoot.
The 6:30’ video loop is a diptych; at times, one side moves to fill the entire screen. One frame shows stills of the changing seasons, featuring women from the artist’s family: a little girl in a red dress; an elderly woman in a white blouse walking with a cane; a woman in a blue dress; and short video scenes displaying “breathing” tree fragments. The other side of the video shows the artist and mother roasting almonds: first they spread out the whole almonds in their shells on trays, wait together for the oven to finish its work, and then peel the almonds. The camera focuses on their flattened palms cracking the almonds, then on their finger joints as they expose the kernels and finally drop the shells onto a pile. Collaborative, careful work replaces blossoming and rotting; a moment in time is captured poetically, preserving its remnants.
The rustling of the shells is a momentary reminder of walking on the earth; it surprises, but may arouse tension or memories of accidental breakage. Perhaps it embodies a complete understanding of breakages in the cycle of life. This body of work moves between external nature and stylized domestic interior, between the orchard earth and the kitchen with its oven, table, shelf, and picture. The resulting connections envelope the elusiveness of life with its moments of happiness and sadness integrated into Time’s continuum.