The Final Project


a series of photographs, 1996-1999

40x30 cm (each)

The Final Project documents deterioration – changes undergone both to the body and daily objects: a hand fracture, wilting flowers, hair loss, the fleeting presence of a daily newspaper. 

The artist and the objects are presented in a series of photographs that comprise the piece, situated on a wooden chair that once belonged to Bartal’s grandmother. It was the chair on which she use to sit while cooking – a simple, old-fashioned Israeli chair, built by an Israeli company called “Totzeret Ha’aretz” (which translates to mean, “Product of Israel”). This is a functional object – simple and white with clean and unsophisticated lines, free of design pretensions – which deteriorated and grew dirty over the years. Time has infected simplicity and cleanliness, and insists on granting it meaning, memory and perhaps even historical-design significance. 

The chair, with all of its references to the history of art (Christian iconography, still life, relation to space), constitutes both a connection to the biographical roots of the artist (his grandmother, his childhood) and represents the anti-design that shaped the identity of the artist. 

The presence of the object on the minimalist chair lends it a dramatic stage. These artistic choices recall the minimalist expression of art’s formalist movement. 

Among the objects photographed on the chair is a Furby doll, which, at the time of the piece’s creation, was a consumer hit among childen (but has since lost its appeal); a sad bouquet of flowers, radiating in its loneliness on the chair; a broomstick (reminiscent of Russian Formalism – the synthetic state of the shapes, the composition and geometry that they create); and a simple electric heater attempting to thaw the cold space framed by the photograph.

The piece is in dialogue with Bartal’s personal history and with his attraction to the street, to arbitrariness, to the poeticism of the banal, to disorder as a means of creating order. Life, for him, is not methodical. He has no ordered plan.