Ruth Dorrit Yacoby:
The Door to the Secret Garden
Curator: Hadas Kedar
Assistant Curator: Julia Yablonsky
The Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art
Dec. 25, 2021 - June 18, 2022
Ruth Dorrit Yacoby (1952–2015) left behind one of the most enigmatic bodies of work in the history of Israeli art. The totality and intensity of her studio practice in Arad, in the Negev desert, reflected the obsessive nature and individuality of her artistic practice. The exhibition reexamines Yacoby’s oeuvre from two main perspectives: a feminist viewpoint, engaging with issues such as motherhood, femininity, and care; and her living and working conditions in the periphery of the country.
Yacoby exhibited widely, both in Israel’s major museums (including an exhibition at the Herzliya Museum, curated by Yoav Dagon), and around the world – in Europe, South America, Asia, USA, and Canada. However, in contrast to the acclaim that she received overseas, she was considered by many in the local art scene to be an outsider artist. This was possibly due to her work being at odds with the prevailing trends of the Israeli art discourse, as an artist living and working at the geographical fringes of the country and centering on feminine themes.
The current exhibition – the first major presentation of Yacoby’s work since her passing – offers a renewed contemplation of her work. Tapping into the artist’s inner voice, the exhibition is attentive to the delicate resonances of her work, which were often muted by her own opaque artistic lexicon. The intimate viewing layout, comprising a series of rooms dedicated to key themes in her output, enables the viewer to engage with Yacoby’s artworks on a one-on-one basis. Opting for intimacy and partiality over objectivity and entirety, the exhibition provides a close encounter with the subtlety of one of the most interesting female Israeli artists of her time.
Exhibition photography: Dor Even Chen