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Raphie Etgar | Israel

After Civilization 5, 6, 7, 2011

Mixed Media, Photograph and Acrylic
145x102 cm each

Courtesy of the Artist

After Civilization 3, 2011
Mixed Media, Photograph and Acrylic
102x138 cm

Courtesy of the Artist

The novelist and playwright Susan Sontag refers in her essay "The Imagination of Disaster" to the aesthetics of destruction and the imagination stored in the disaster which reflect our era through the anxieties and traumas that have inflicted humanity in the twentieth century. Sontag links the future disaster to the memories from the two World Wars, and describes the consequential fear of a nuclear war. It is not a personal fear of an individual death, which is naturally understandable, but rather that of the imminent death and collective end of the world.

After Civilization is a series of landscapes in mixed techniques which I created in the recent year. Of this series, I chose, as curator of the exhibition, to show one triptych and a single horizontal picture. The series is based on seemingly abstract images and deals with the remains of landscapes from war zones that have left no trace of time or place. With the help of expressive brush strokes and photographs I took at the site, I created an image which constructs itself and erases its identity simultaneously. Thus were formed layers of color, much like an archaeological report which contains a life that is no more. A testimony to an heroic civilization which was destroyed by the "Golem" it created and couldn’t control.

"Only miniscule traces of civilization’s achievements and proofs saying "we were here" will serve as future testimony, to what was here in the past. Most of it will disappear as a result of the geological activity of the Earth" writes Prof. Alan Weisman, an American novelist and journalist, in his book "The World Without Us."