The Sota Project
From October 7 to December 1, 2012
The Sota Project is an immersive, multilayered video installation that reenacts a controversial text from the Talmud. A tale of two sisters, bound together in symbiotic loyalty that unfolds in both time and three-dimensional space. The piece invites viewers to step into room-sized moving panoramas, and walk through an enigmatic and disturbing ancient story that has hardly been told.
Sota, an anonymous Biblical story, recounts the tale of two sisters, Sota and Bekhorah, who are bound together in symbiotic loyalty when Sotaʼs husband accuses her of infidelity. Against a backdrop of jealousy, betrayal, judgment, ritual humiliation, and ultimately death, Cnaaniʼs installation depicts a deceptively simple moral parable that unfolds in countless ways.
Video projections on all four walls of the exhibition space will allow multiple narratives to develop concurrently, thus calling into question the notion of a single, coherent truth. The Sota Project uses the most current new media technologies while employing storytelling techniques inspired by ancient Greco-Roman murals and Renaissance tapestries.
As James Trainor writes in the exhibitionʼs catalogue essay: "In the case of Ofri Cnaaniʼs Sota Project, a complex multilayered video installation that unfolds in both time and three-dimensional space, the original kernel of a story is barely there. It is a haiku, an obscure scriptural footpath that peters out into nothing almost before it has begun, a barebones inventory of facts a mere fourteen lines long. The anonymous story from the Talmud - recounting the tale of two sisters, Sota and Bekhorah, living in separate villages but bound together in symbiotic loyalty amidst a backdrop of jealousy, betrayal,guilt and innocence, deception, societal judgment, ritual humiliation and ultimately death - is, as Cnaani points out, a deceptively simple moral parable, one that leaves open multiple blind spots."
Ofri Cnaani (b. 1975) currently lives in Brooklyn, NYC. She received her MFA in Visual Arts from Hunter College in 2004. Cnaani is a Six Points Fellow and was twice the winner of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation award. She is also a professor at the School of Visual Art in New York.
Cnaani works in time-based media, live-cinema performances and large-scale installations. Her video installations explore the theatrical potential of the urban space and the relationship between architecture and narrative, seeking to dissolve spatial distinctions between reality and mythical realms. Her recent works utilize defunct technologies to present her research on visual memories of the early days of Israeli history, as well as on political and sexual betrayal.
Solo exhibitions and performances include: BMW Guggenheim Lab, NYC; PS1/MoMA, NYC; Twister, Network of Lombardy Contemporary Art Museums, Italy; Kunsthalle Galapagos, NYC; Andrea Meislin Gallery, NYC; Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv; Pack Gallery, Milan; Haifa Museum of Art, Israel; Herzlyia Museum of Art, Israel. Group exhibitions include: Moscow Biennial; The Kitchen, NYC; Bronx Museum of the Arts, NYC; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Arnolfini Foundation Museum, Bristol, UK; Tel Aviv Museum; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Prague Triennale.
Cnaani is represented by Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv; Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York; Galleria PACK, Milan.
The Sota Project had been generously supported by numerous sponsors, including a grant from The Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists (a partnership of Avoda Arts, JDub Records, and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, and made possible with major funding from UJA-Federation of New York.); Artis ; The Rabinovich Foundation; The Consulate General of Israel in NY; The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation; Hadassah-Brandeis Institute; Andrea Meislin Gallery; Braverman Galllery; Rothschild 69; and Mana Contemporary.