Yael Malka On Modern Intimacy
Somehow, though the sentiment seems sad, there is a softness in Malka’s approach that has steeped her show in an air of hope. Malka has managed to achieve something which many artists fumble to attempt— producing political art that avoids pushiness, and is presented from an approachable angle.
Through her triad of projects, Malka presents intimacy as investigated firstly in the form of imagery. The irony of her series of poignant photographs is that they truly speak for themselves, though translate the idea through their subtlety and secretive silence. By depicting displaced body parts and presumably “personal” ephemera, Malka mimics the mannerisms of modern socialising, in terms of what is displayed or concealed— an element which can be seen both emotionally and aesthetically in the exchange between strangers as much as that of lovers or friends.
Malka’s second series is made up of an array of t-shirts, printed with taglines the artist had seen on passersby during her international travels. Each caption came directly from clothing she’d noticed being worn in non-English-speaking countries. In the context of her exhibition, the collection exemplifies another aspect of the cultural assimilation and appropriation, caught in the cacophony of colonialism and therefore, lost in translation.
Finally, Malka interprets the interaction between individuals and personal items— specifically, focusing on strangers in New York City and their own ephemeral objects. Collecting found pieces of paper from the city’s streets, the artist has translated all that she’s accumulated over three years— receipts, religious texts, children’s drawings— and presented them on edible paper, and then printed on cakes. And this is how she takes the show full circle, concluding with this food we often connect to concepts of comfort, family, kinship— though whether eaten or left to rot, in reality these cakes are equally as ephemeral as the phrases from people’s forgotten papers.
Be sure to see the show while it is still on view, through April 18th.