Yitzhak , Nevet b.1975 / Where the Wild Things Are
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Yitzhak , Nevet b.1975 / Where the Wild Things Are Yitzhak , Nevet b.1975 / Where the Wild Things Are Yitzhak , Nevet b.1975 / Where the Wild Things Are Yitzhak , Nevet b.1975 / Where the Wild Things Are Yitzhak , Nevet b.1975 / Where the Wild Things Are
about this work
'Where the Wild Things Are', the title from Maurice Sendak's renowned children's book, blends a childish fantasy with violence and horror – just like the Afghan war rugs that serve as the point of departure for Nevet Yitzhak's video installation of the same name. 

Yitzhak's accidental encounter with Afghan war rugs could not but capture her attention and set fire to her creative imagination, for they are infused with the same subject matters that motivated her artistic practice from its nascence.The Afghan war rugs, a fascinating and unique phenomenon, are a combination of traditional rug weaving technique with a history paved with conflicts and foreign military presence. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late-1970s and a decade of occupation, civil wars and American military intervention have yielded a plethora of war rugs. Some of the Afghan war rugs are narrative in nature, and feature figurative portrayals of modern weapons, portraits of warriors, war and terrorism casualties, geographical maps alongside various inscriptions that attest to the military and political upheavals. The war rugs, the anti-war rugs and victory rugs, both spectacular and horrifying, have become sought after collector's items in the West, the subject of research and numerous exhibitions.

What started as an authentic expression of the changing reality and landscape, a means for transmitting to the world the horrors of war and occupation, migration and uprooting, an expression of resistance and a means of survival, had been commodified and turned into touristic memorabilia industry. The weaving was performed predominantly by women and the trade by men. They were weaved in the rural areas of Afghanistan, but also in the refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran, and thus absorbed stylistic influences from different traditions. Many rugs maintain the symmetrical ornamental composition of the traditional Afghan rugs while the decorative patterns were replaced by images of war. Geometrical patterns of rich and stylized flora and fauna were converted into convoys of tanks, helicopters formations, land mines, hand grenades and missiles, which were transformed into a tapestry of decorative patterns.

Rugs of this type served as the point of departure and basis for Yitzhak's video installation. In this work, the stylized images of Soviet firearms were replaced by three-dimensional models of weapons commonly used by other armies and warzones, and their animation, created by various software, re-instills in them the violent, destructive potential. The labor-intensive craftsmanship of weaving the rugs has been transformed into a no less laborious digital work, and the materiality of the rugs was replaced with a projection of light .At times it seems that spreading the digital rugs by projecting them along the walls of a gallery brings them back into the domestic intimate space for which they were designed.

The illusion is interrupted when the three-dimensional models (taken from computer games and combat simulations) which the artist integrated into the rugs, erupt and realize the qualities of the programs that rendered them when they embark on a carpet war accompanied by sounds of explosions and gunshots, also taken from computer games, wreaking havoc on the non-material material of the rug (the Second World War term "carpet bombing" comes to mind here). Like other artists before her, Nevet Yitzhak makes use of the seductive nature of animation, as well as the aesthetics of computer games in order to express weighty subject matters in her works. The manner in which the images of war were assimilated in the tapestry of the rugs and their animation, erasing the original images as a result, are akin to processes of assimilation and integration of culture that entail violence and oppression on the one hand and a struggle to preserve cultural difference and singularity on the other hand.

The interest in the construction of cultural identity and gender stereotypes in a postcolonial and post-feminist society, originate in the examination and criticism of the Israeli state of affairs.The relation between a Western or Westernized culture to an Eastern culture, concepts like conservatism and progress, cultural hegemony and ethnic traditions, high and low, art and craft, localism and globalism, appear in Nevet Yitzhak's work not as contrasting dualities, but as notions that are inter-weaved with one another.

Nevet Yitzhak (b.1975, Israel )

Where the Wild Things Are , 2014

3 video projections on PVC
Each: 500 x 260 cm.
Each: 196 7/8 x 102 3/8 in.
Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, Israel  Current Location:
Israel - Panorama Storage, Tel-Aviv VideoMiddle East


Koffler Gallery, Toronto, Canada
04/04/2019 - 26/05/2019

Common Threads: Weaving Stories Across Time
Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, Boston MA
04/10/2018 - 13/01/2019

Found ă mentalism II
Ostrale - Biennale for Contemporary Art, St James Cavalier, Valletta, Malta
01/06/2018 - 29/07/2018

Negotiating the Future
2017 Asian Art Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung City, Taiwan
09/30/2017 - 02/25/2018

Israeli Contemporary Art from the Tiroche DeLeon and ST-ART Collections
Modern Art Research Institute, National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
03/14/2017 - 03/26/2017

Virginia MOCA, Virginia Beach, VA, USA
01/28/2017 - 04/16/2017

Nevet Yitzhak: Warcraft (another edition)
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia, USA
January 2017 - April 2017

National Museum, Warsaw, Poland
October 2016 - November 2016

Recurrence: Rituals, Place, and History
Nimac - Nicosia Municipal Art Center, Cyprus
17/06/2016 - 25/07/2016

Metatextile: Ruptured Narratives, Exchanged Values
Edel Assanti Gallery, London, UK
June 2016 - August 2016

Error x, Osraele 016, 10th International Exhibition for Contemporary Arts in Dresen, Germany
10th International Exhibition for Contemporary Arts in Dresen, Germany
2016 - 2016

Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
14/05/2015 - 10/07/2015

Nevet Yitzhak: WarCraft
Art Basel, Screening Room, Miami, FL, USA
November 2014 - February 2015

Where the Wild Things Are
Noga Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
September 2014 - November 2014


Nevet Yitzhak , 10 Best Exhibitions of the Year - 2014
Haaretz (Online), January 1, 2015
View Publication »

Pat Rogers , Five Shows Not to Miss During Art Basel Week
Hamptons Art Hub (Online), December 2, 2014
View Publication »

Anne Tschida , WarCraft by Nevet Yitzhak: Critic’s Pick of today
Miami Herald (Newspaper), December 2014

Galia Yahav, Carpet Bombing
Haaretz (Newspaper), 12 October 2014

Artwork History
  • artist origin
  • provenance
  • current location
  • exhibitions
  • multiple

related works / Middle East / Video