Through a Glass Darkly
Although a quick glance at Dana Yoeli’s work, Through a Glass Darkly, is enough to realize that it is an imaginary theatrical scene, perhaps a scale model or a trick of another kind that combines these two, the eye still wanders, seeking for a structure, looking to establish a certain logic. The gaze scans the objects in a desperate attempt to connect shreds of ruins from the Parthenon, resting upon Doric and Corinthian order columns, backgrounded by a brutalist concrete wall in a modern architectural style. The horror emerges when among to the ruins, the viewer discovers several life-sized fingers as well as a classical sculpture of a nose, next to a miniature replica of the Elgin horse, that same horse that is named not after its creator but rather after Lord Elgin, who tore it from its origin in the Parthenon, and led it into the collection of the British Museum.
Into a 130 square cm space, with a title made of three-words, Yoeli manages to engage in a array of cultural references dated in different periods and disciplines, from theater and cinema through visual arts and architecture, and at the same time pull those out of the context in which we are used to seeing them. When Bergman’s film shares a stage with the ruins of Greek temples and a finger pointing at the horrific damages of colonialism, Yoeli forces us to confront questions regarding the identity of the forces that control the narratives told through these cultural assets. Yoeli signs the work with the words “to err is human”, and what could have been a consolation can also be read as an accusation.