Ofri Cnaani and Nelly Agassi:
Crippled Symmetry

May 3 – August 30, 2015


In this two-person multimedia exhibition, two identical dark rooms project each artist’s moving images and mechanical sounds.

Mana Contemporary is pleased to announce a duo show with Ofri Cnaani and Nelly Agassi titled Crippled Symmetry. In the two-persons exhibition, two identical dark rooms immerse viewers with a pulsating audiovisual experience of moving images and mechanical sounds.

Nelly Agassi’s animated drawings use abstracted geometric shapes to re-imagine mental institutions designed by Thomas Scott Kirkbride. Using Kirkbride’s blueprints as inspiration, Agassi produces her own ambiguous floor plans, employing a visual language of lines and curves referencing space and control. In this new series of short animations, Agassi’s drawings become a sort of architectural Rorschach test alternately resembling masks, faces, and even the female reproductive system.

In the center of Ofri Cnaani’s new installation is a room-size mirror tray filled with water, lying on a massive table, resembling the developing tray in a dark room. Slowly moving on the water’s surface are dozens of archival images from a kibbutz where the artist was born and raised. Overhead, projector’s arms are capturing, then projecting all over the room, the floating historical vignettes that keep traveling in the tray, with no predictable path, creating what the artist calls “accidental narratives.”

Inspired by Morton Feldman’s “Crippled Symmetry” music piece, the two artists work simultaneously, leaving visitors no indication of how and where they should synchronize or be read apart. The two rooms, drawing black-and-white personal notes from rigorous, yet defunct, living models, function like two machine rooms, or rather, a room of many wonders.   

Ofri Cnaani is an artist and educator. She works in time-based media, live-cinema performances, and large-scale installations. She also teaches at the School of Visual Arts and International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. Cnaani's solo exhibitions and performances include: Metropolitan Museum of Art , PS1/MoMA, NYC; BMW Guggenheim Lab, NYC; The Fisher Museum of Art, L.A.; 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.

Nelly Agassi works in performance, installation, video and paper. Her artwork addresses the idea of the body and notion of intimacy within public space. Her work engages both the personal and emotional as well as universal concepts. Agassi is a 2001 graduate of the MA program of combined media in Chelsea Collage of Art and Design, London, UK. She has received the Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation for Israeli Art Prize and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art award for artistic encouragement from the Israel Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport. Agassi shown her work extensively throughout the world – in sites such as the Israel Museum, Doritto Rovesscio, Milan Triennial, and at the Tate Modern in London.

Press Release

Nelly Agassi, NUMIMA, 2014. Animation, Maya Raviv. Original sound, Daniel Davidovsky. Courtesy of Dvir Gallery Tel Aviv
Ofri Cnaani, My Untranslatable Archive, 2015
Nelly Agassi, NUMIMA, 2014. Animation, Maya Raviv. Original sound, Daniel Davidovsky. Courtesy of Dvir Gallery Tel Aviv
Ofri Cnaani, My Untranslatable Archive, 2015