Corona Notebooks: Adi Argov, Nubolaz Cooperative Art Space, Tel Aviv, Israel
Adi Argov, No Running: corona notebooks, 2020
Artist Merav Shinn Ben-Alon interviews Adi Argov, artist from Nulobaz cooperative space Tel Aviv on her artistic activities during quarantine.
Who are you? Adi argov, multidisciplinary artist, Bezalel BFA graduate 2009, Art teacher and freelance editor and translator. Founding member of the artist-run gallery Nulobaz cooperative space. Living and working in Tel Aviv, Israel. Right now quarantined at home and working mainly from my living room.
How are you? I’m great. Surprisingly this weird time calms me and allows me to rest and focus on what's important to me: cooking, gardening, exercise, drawing and writing. Also, sometimes doing nothing is important.
What is the name of your project? ’Corona notebooks’
When did you create this project? Over the last month.
How did you create this project? With what mediums did you work? For many years now I've been drawing in notebooks alongside my work in the studio, in which I focus on drawing, painting and installation. The notebooks are a good way for me to start working and get things moving. It is good practice for the head and the hand. I found that it sharpens my thoughts and clarifies things that occupy my mind. It is a journal that accompanies me and echoes the style, temperament and mindset of that time. Now, when I'm closed in at home and unable to go to work in the studio, I rediscovered that the most natural thing for me is to focus the process through drawing. So once quarantine commenced, I started a new notebook.
Why did you choose this medium, this technique for this project? Drawing in a notebook is for me an immediate or even primal action that allows me to express feelings and ideas without mediation. Working with felt-tip pens and limited color choices helps me focus in a very open and free action and generates a set of limitations within which I can create.
What is the subject of your research? The subject of my research is language itself. I seek external inspiration but I do not look at the external while working. Usually there are a number of images that engage me and I create variations of them within the works. I aspire to reach a state in which the image is in between a clear representation and abstract.
Tell me about the process. How did you get started on the project and how did it develop? Like many artists, I've always held a sketchbook. At first, the notebook contained a mix of sketches, ideas, drawings, experiments and writings. Over the years, the notebooks have been split into different uses, a separate notebook for writing, sketches of works and sculptures and notebooks dedicated solely to the drawings where I can practice and develop my drawing style.
Was there a source of inspiration for the project? Recently I've been looking at the works of Julie Mehretu, an American artist who creates large-scale abstract drawings.
What is the story that the works tell? The drawings describe small and minor situations from several perspectives, sometimes as a disassembled story. It is a visual experience that leaves room for the subjective eye. At first, this can be challenging for the viewer, but when you surrender the need to interpret something else is revealed.
Nulobaz Cooperative Art Space members reflect through different perspectives on the pain and sacrifices of living in a complex and violent reality, the result of the ongoing Israeli Palestinian dispute. Through their personal experience as Israeli individuals and artists, who grew up amidst the conflict, they sense a gap between the ethos they have absorbed since childhood through education and military service, and the reality that they actually see. This gap between the narrative and individual experience is where they focus their art.