Floor Plan Bling Bling
19.02.2021 – 08.05.2021
Nadia Perlov’s practice concerns itself with the spatial politics of occupation and colonization, which she explores through complex and allegorical narratives that employ fantasy, humor, and design tactics. With her native Israel as her recurring case study, the artist draws on her background in choreography and dance notation to materialize multi-layered research about contested space-making practices in the Palestinian-Israeli region, past, and present. Just as the sociopolitical dimensions of these practices are broadly overlooked by the general local public, Perlov’s artworks cloak themselves in a clownish design aesthetic to appear as seemingly playful, innocent, or decorative. This interpretive openness invites the viewer to reconsider how meaning is created in and through the aesthetics of architecture, land zoning tactics, borders, and infrastructure, particularly in the normalization of political occupation and racial/religious segregation through urban planning and design.
Speculating various spatial perspectives and political modes of vision, Perlov literally plays out these dynamics through a speculative game of Snakes and Ladders, which stretch across the gallery as a total installation. Sculptural ladders constructed out of patchworked textile screens hang along the walls, embellished with insect origami made from architectural floor plans; essentially foldable pre-fab paper houses. One long snake dissects the room diagonally, forcing the viewer to navigate this designated “gamified” territory. By using the metaphor of this ubiquitous flat board game where the only goal is to climb upwards, the artist allegorizes real hierarchies and power dynamics within a given space that politicians, builders, workers, and residents alike must navigate and inhabit. Juxtaposed alongside each other in grids and patterns, the textiles resemble aerial imagery of land, while their distinctly gauche quality draws the viewer back to the banal aesthetic realm of aspiration in which these profound and complex political conflicts play out.
Nadia Perlov (b. 1990, Tel Aviv), based in Frankfurt am Main, is invested in cultural history and languages. Her practice focuses on the flow of migratory cultures, exploring their narratives and complex identities in relationship to politics, architecture, and territory.