Avraham Eilat
Islands of Memory


While creating this 24- meters-long drawing on roll cardboard, Eilat was guided by the linear mode of, on the one hand, scrolling out the roll and drawing, and, on the other hand, by rolling up the drawn part back. By the photographic collage appearing along the length of the paper, the artist seems to be striving to remember the drawings on the already rolled upside of the cardboard. The main figure which appears constantly is a drawing of a skull, which the artist has created from an original X-ray image of his brain. Another figure that appears along the cardboard are tattoos of Paleolithic Venus’ statuettes. 

The combination of these two figures raises a question:
Why is memory associated with a woman? Is there any other significant reason except the formal association that made different cultures connect memory with a woman (for instance, let’s remember Mnemosyne from ancient mythology, the goddess of memory and the mother of the muses). Cultural anthropologists (Alain Testart) link this to the sexual division of labour, which occurred in the very first stage of human society's economic activity hunting/gathering stage. One of the first manifestations of this social division of labour is based on the beliefs of the primitive man. The natural process of blood elimination from woman’s body was regarded as defective (impure) banning her from a number of activities. The ban was triggered not so much by the workload as by the means needed to carry out the activity; For instance, hunting, which involves the use of cutting and piercing instruments. Women were prohibited from touching these instruments. That taboo, being a normative instrument, set the place for woman's activity the indoors, the private, the sector of stewardship. But the ban had functioned beyond the legal side as a mnemotechnical tool, becoming the living memory of otherness, the directive for remembering and forgetting.

Through combining the imprints of statuette representing female body with drawings of the skull and brain Avraham Eilat reconfirms this directive which is transferred through the taboo, as a living memory.


Nazareth Karoyan


http://eilatart.com