"Drawing is the desire to understand the shape that's behind the shape. Drawing is the attempt and desire to understand the wind that caresses the clouds and changes their shape. What does the wind do and what does this caress do?...Perhaps they are the hope?...And perhaps the hope is the drive to create a shape. To draw a line. To feel."
Burka, a veil. A traditional Muslim woman must conceal her physical beauty from men whom she is not related to.
The artist has addressed this subject intensively since 1997, and this is the second exhibition on the theme.
According to the artist, Afghan women were the starting point for the exhibition. "I took a series of photographs that appeared in the 'Haaretz' newspaper. Using a Xerox machine I enlarged them on waxed paper, and then worked on them applying a method of drawing, with straight lines that create a lattice on the paper – reminiscent of the net-like material that Afghan women use to cover their faces"…
At a later stage in the process, the artist dispensed with the likeness and adopted the "grid" as the primary foundation for the composition.
Whereas during the Renaissance the "grid" was a means for representing reality, in 20th century art it has become the represented reality. The subject itself. Artists such as Moshe Kupperman, Agnes Martin and others have made use of it as the foundation for the composition in their works, with each one leading this medium to a different personal statement.
The hierarchy-devoid compositions in Zila's works utter line-like voices. Lines of different thicknesses and of varying tonal volume. Flat lines and lines that turn into blots, creating an illusion of depth. Straight lines and oblique lines. On occasion the network of lines splits into a spacious yet blurred aperture. However, drawing is not only lines. It is the emotions that are behind the lines and the shapes, and they cannot be defined because the definitions vanish just like the illusion found in the line of light between the crevices.
Despite the paucity of means that the artist uses in her works, the drawings are sensitive and expressive and evoke a sense of a meditative experience. There is a tremor of the hand, a heaviness of the pencil. Rhythm, and beneath the crevices and the fragile bars, expressive strokes in acrylic and/or automatic and unfettered scribbles are camouflaged in some of the works.
The works evoke discourse and dialog between different elements. Between interior and exterior. Between visible and hidden, and between chains and liberation. Between social coercion and inner freedom, between order and freedom and between emotion and intellect.
These drawings are the result of inner reflection, reflection that doesn't end.
Elizabeth Dor, Borka, Musrara, Jerusalem, 2003