Not as a cypress,
Not all at one time,
But rather as grass, in a thousand careful green sproutings,
To be hidden like many children in a game,
And one seeks.
-- Yehuda Amichai
The work of Lezli Rubin-Kunda develops slowly, quietly. It responds to the cycles of the natural world, to the seasons of the year, the earth, to her surroundings. Proceeding with restraint, her work provides new form for that which has lost its form. Pine needles scattered on the ground are gathered up and pierced into the wall, dry leaves are pressed into tiles, translucent seeds are removed from their pods and repositioned on the window. But these works are only way-stations. After they have served their function in the studio or the gallery, they will return to what they were, or continue on to another form. Rubin-Kunda's work is constantly being redone, undergoing subtle changes with each renewal, just as the pine tree will produce the same pine needles again and again, but never in the exact same configuration. Each outcome creates the conditions for the emergence of yet another variation.
...The new order which is created does not dictate definitive meaning. Instead it offers one option, one possibility for relating to one's surroundings, in a way that is both specific and yet off-hand, with an element of chance, and without making generalizations about the current time and place.
Nature presents itself in its abundance and in its details. One can understand the natural world by studying its general laws or through close study of its details. Rubin-Kunda's approach is the latter. She is aware of the small transformations, the form and formlessness that nature manifests. ...The artist picks and prepares the olives from the tree in the garden, and after they have been consumed she saves the pits, removing them from the domestic realm to the studio where they become raw material for work. Whatever she brings to the studio becomes material for play. The rules f the game are not fixed, nothing is beyond the range of possibility. The primary material takes form through feeling, crushing, smelling, until it ceases to be matter and changes to essence; until the separation of matter and form, of sensory and cognitive dissolve, existing only as different modes of the same experience.
Not only the natural world, but also synthetic materials and common objects finds their way into the work. Plastic bags are compressed, wrapped with thread, until they resemble cotton-wool balls. Plastic hose emerging from the wall with rose thorns adhered to them resemble the horned back-plate of an animal. Strips of plastic sheeting hang like laundry on a line, with twigs, pods, shells stuck to them. Plastic bubble-wrap, used for packaging, acts as a support for a work consisting of oil, air, pits and seeds; the oil and pits are injected into the bubbles, a paraphrase of the bees in the hive. The combining of the disintegrating organic with the ubiquitous synthetic material create a fragile tension. In the meeting of the real and the counterfeit, the noble and the simple, each acquires something of the nature of the other.
The artist leaves traces of her activity, of the imprint of her body that claim- I was here. In a pile of bonfire charcoal there are signs of body movements, as if of someone trying to fly, echoes of a childhood game, making angels in the virgin snow. But here the angel is created out of the ashes, like the phoenix whom one cannot see, but can only say of him that he has been here.
The system of pairing dichotomous elements- ashes/ angel, material/ non-material, earthly/ heavenly, are in Rubin-Kunda's work opposites that do not cancel each other out. The logical binary reasoning pits one against the other, this or that, object facing subject. The works of Rubin-Kunda perform a ritualistic act where there is no logic, only necessity. Ceremony takes the form of art, and art takes on the form of ceremony.
Rubin-Kunda's works arrange themselves in circles, in rows, in piles, around a missing center, cascading fro the wall to the ground. They invite the viewer in, to follow the path where opposites are entwined. The former essence of the material is included in their present appearance. One thing is embedded in another, time within time, the whole within the part.
Monica Lavi 1997