Lighthouse, 2007, metal thimbles, plaster wall
Noa Lidor: Lighthouse
November 3, 2007 - March 23, 2008
Curator: Tal Yahas
The silhouette of a lighthouse situated on the coastline is revealed to be composed of hundreds of metal thimbles embedded in a plaster wall. The connection created between the two images - the lighthouse and the thimble - produces a sense of dissonance and tension between opposites: interior and exterior, large and small, masculine and feminine. The lighthouse stands for the exterior - a phallic, architectural element that embodies the human attempt to overcome the forces of nature by means of technology; the rounded thimble, meanwhile, usually symbolizes an interior, an intimate domestic territory and women's work. Nevertheless, these images are both associated with protective functions: the lighthouse enables ships to navigate safely by marking dangerous areas along the coastline, while the thimble functions as a protective shield in the course of sewing or embroidering. Although these two objects are still in use today, they symbolize obsolete technologies, and are imbued with a romantic and nostalgic quality.
Lighthouses are associated, in the Western collective consciousness, with desolate and tempestuous northern coasts of the kind immortalized in 19th and 20th century Anglo-Saxon literature (in the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Virginia Woolf, for instance); they also appear as shining spots of light seen from the sea in the Romantic paintings of J.W. Turner, and in the realistic paintings of Edward Hopper. Lighthouses have a symbolic value as sources of light in a realm of darkness, as physical or metaphorical guides whose signals direct travelers towards a safe haven; at the same time, this image is imbued with a highly melancholic quality; it symbolizes a state of splendid isolation, and a human presence that persists in an exposed and desolate landscape. The image of the thimble may similarly be related to an experience of solitude, since it alludes to work that is done on the domestic interior, in a restricted sphere that is isolated from social life.
Lidor's artistic action vacillates on the boundary between drawing and sculpture, between two and three dimensions. The act of drawing is made evident during one's initial encounter with the work, while the three-dimensional effect is more elusive and less evident - since the action is delicately directed inwards, into the wall. This quiet three-dimensional presence invites the viewer to approach the work, to insert his finger into it and to intimately commune with it. Yet it seems that the ability to touch and closely observe the installation heightens the obsessive and almost violent dimension of inserting hundreds of thimbles into the wall. In this manner, the image of a lighthouse composed of thimbles, whose metallic materiality echoes the coolness typical of northern landscapes, is transformed from a fantasy of salvation into an image bound to the wall - as if the surface had been punctured by shooting marks with no exit holes.
Noa Lidor was born in Petach Tikva (1977). She is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem (1996-2001); she holds an M.F.A. from the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (2003-2004). Her solo exhibition "I Can Walk to the Other End of the Day" was exhibited at Reception Space, London (2005). She has also participated in group exhibitions, including "Besame Mucho," Hoxton Hall, London (2005); "Walled In: Walled Out," Green Cardamom, London (2005); "Flat," Arlington Gallery, London (2006); "The Flat Pack," Reception Space, London (2006); "Nature Trails," Gallery Space, London (2007); "Salon Locale," Gallery Space, London (2007). Noa Lidor lives and works in London.