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Scent of a Secret



Odelia Elhanani
“Scent of a secret”
Curator: Dana Gillerman
Opening: Thursday, March 31, 2016, at the Zaritsky Artists’ House, Tel Aviv, 8 p.m.
 
Odelia Elhanani’s solo exhibition “Scent of a secret” at the Zaritsky Artists’ House, Tel Aviv, conducts a critical cultural dialogue with the Sod laundry powder’s advertising slogan.  
The more we think about the slogan, the more we begin to sense discomfort. What “secret” (sod in Hebrew) is the scent supposed to conceal?
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a huge tapestry embroidered over several months by the artist in collaboration with a group of Bedouin women from the village of Lakiya in southern Israel.
The image inspiring the tapestry is a combination of the well-known painting The Gleaners (1857) by Jean-François Millet, with contemporary touristic photographs of women in India. The Indian laundresses, the embroiderers from Lakiya and the linens scattered over the gallery floor belong to women who have divested themselves of the “secret.” At the center is the river, its beginning embroidered on the tapestry, its continuation in the stream of laundry twisting along the floor of the gallery space. The past flows into the present as the painting merges with the photograph, blending East and West. The image moves between high, “masculine” painting and women’s manual labor.  All of the above are washed in the waters of the stream enveloping the viewer in a strong scent – the clear, pure odor of laundry powder. This is the history of art, the history of laundresses and of embroiderers, and of women in general.