Two years ago, I was approached by a couple of curators to participate in a project involving the two cities of Tel Aviv and Berlin. Various artists in different disciplines were asked to create artwork on pairs of matkot (paddles).
At the time, I decided to create two works reflecting how I interpret the back and forth interaction of two matkot players.
My first work revolves around the name of my home, the city of Tel Aviv. I made one artwork representing a Tel (in English, a hill) and another symbolizing Aviv (in English, a spring). By playing with the reading order in these two different languages ─ right-to-left and left-to-right ─ you can feel the back and forth movement between two paddles, what we’d call a ping-pong effect.
TEL - AVIV
T42 N 24T
The other idea came to me after watching a classic French comedy called "La Grande Vadrouille" (or in English, “Don't look now, we are being shot at”), which takes place during WWII. In one of the funniest scenes, two men must identify themselves in a Turkish bath, and one of them has to sing "Tea for two and two for tea" in order to be identified by an allied British pilot.
Again, I juggled here with the concept of flipping sentences. My second work was named "T 4 2 N 2 4 T."
Shoreline - 2013
This year, new matkot are being exhibited in the Spanish capital city, Madrid. This time,
I chose to be inspired by the spirit of a game called Roshambo, or rock-paper-scissors.
My work, “Shoreline,” depicts that area that appears right next to the seashore, where people can play matkot on the hard, wet sand that has been washed by the breaking waves.
One of my matkot show clear and clean seashore, with the blue sea and the yellow-white sand; and you catch sight of two flip-flops. The second of my matkot shows the shoreline in inferno-like colors, black and fiery orange. Here, my mind jumped to the opposite image: seashore affected by petroleum. In this image, there are no sandals, just traces of steps in orange-reddish sand.
Which of the matkot prevails? Tel Aviv beaches are constantly the subject of debates about preserving the city’s seashore. Often, we get that feeling that the future of our beaches depends on the flip of a coin. And ─ like the flip of a coin ─ Roshambo is a method of choosing randomly, too.
The spirit of the game Roshambo is about beating your opponent. Each time, you can be the winner or the loser, or you can be even. It is an ongoing struggle. It is impossible to get a real advantage over a truly random opponent.
Similarly, matkot is a game of force that has no real strategy involved. It is, like Roshambo, simply a question of hundreds of moves. The goal of the game is to hit a small rubber ball as many times as possible, without dropping it. It is fast and quick ─ there is no time for thinking ─ it is spontaneity at its best!
The parallel here lies in the fact that, conceptually, both games are quick in their response. These two games are tied by the common spirit of instantaneity and surprise.