Gal Weinstein’s work in the current exhibition is not self-revealing; it demands a searching gaze and a connecting consciousness to locate and decipher it. A round sewage hole, 60 cm in diameter, is opened and immediately re-sealed in the museum floor. Only a close meticulous look reveals that the cover is not an ordinary sewage lid, with the required ownership definitions, such as ‘Petach Tikva Municipality’, and that the decorative pattern adorning it is not a repeated pattern intended to prevent it from being slippery when wet, but rather a unique personal fingerprint which turns out to be the artist’s own.
Weinstein’s use of the notion and formation of the fingerprint sends us to several contexts simultaneously. The fingerprint is the major external tool used to identify and classify people and citizens throughout the world. For the illiterate, the fingerprint serves as a signature substitute, and in the history of classical western art the term has been associated with the phenomenon of the ‘genius’ artist whose fingerprint in the work was clear and could not be undermined, imitated, or forged.
The fingerprint also conceals a memory potential, an evidence of existence, a trace of contact. Its stamping on the sewage cover ostensibly projects a type of personal, private, material ownership onto it, and the cover, which is a simulation of the ‘real thing’, becomes an original in its own right, a type of self-portrait, albeit possibly part of a production of a set of casts where the original’s value and the object’s or work’s uniqueness will, once again, be examined.
Weinstein’s work infuses the sewage system into the exhibition space, juxtaposing, on a single plane, the sublime notions of genius, individuality, and uniqueness, with that which is identified with the most abject, inferior human common denominator, that which strives to be distanced from touch and gaze.
Creating an opening in the museum space calls for contemplation of parallel levels of occurrence and existence, of the ideological distinction inherent in the gap between that which is visible on the surface and that which remains hidden beneath it, and necessarily – of different types of intricate systems that tie different sites and individuals together, such as systems of communications, electricity and water; systems that have become vital for human existence, with the cyclical intricacy characterizing it in the modern era, but also ones characterized (not always consciously) by a threat to vanquish and eradicate it.