Bat-Ami Rivlin was born in Israel in 1991. Rivlin received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has been featured in galleries in Israel and in the New York area including ‘Surface, Surface’, at the SVA Chelsea Gallery, ‘The Tide’, at the SVA Flatiron Gallery, Lorimoto Gallery’s Salon show, and the ‘One Earth One Consciousness’ exhibit at the BronxArtSpace. Her performance work was featured at the Torus Porta performance space. Rivlin is the recipient of the SVA Fine Arts grant for 2014, as well as the recipient of the Bronze Casting grant for the MANA Contemporary Ben Keating Foundry. Her work was featured in online publications such as Float Magazine and Fashion-to-Israel. She completed the Sculpture residency at the School of Visual Arts in 2015 and attended the Arts Letters and Numbers residency in Upstate New York in October 2016. She will attend the NARS Foundation’s residency in Brooklyn in January 2017. She is currently working and creating in New York City.
My work explores different performative aspects of the body as meat, sex object, and remnant. I am interested in bodily characteristics transforming objects into flesh, making an in-between ‘abject’ that is not inanimate, nor alive. The abjection of flesh, its transformation from the proper to the formless, exhausted, and rotten, is a key concept to my work. The understanding of our bodies as vessels, outer-layer, and as separate from our conscious selves is questioned. Exhausted materials, fleshy forms allude to the meat-like properties of the human body and the social implications of the consideration of our own process of disintegration. The bodily functions that signify our biology and remind us of the ephemeral and embodied nature of existence are rejected in an attempt to create a space separate from deterioration of the body. Thus, the flesh emerges in different roles that are performed for an audience, such as an image, a tool, or an illusion. Our bodies are no longer the makeup of ourselves, but rather a visual representation that is both separate and irrelevant to what we assume as the inner being. The body becomes upgradable, malleable, and theatrical. In its theatricality, it performs the role of 'object' dictated by the social space or context. In domestic spaces and in official social settings, the body becomes a hinderance, as the sight of flesh and its corporal attributes clash with the understanding of the authority of the so-called pure intellect. Moreover, intimate spaces in which flesh is supposedly allowed to exist, have also become contested, mediated by the beauty ideals of popular mass culture. Particularly with female flesh, the body’s naked appearance becomes an immediate ‘nude’, a showcasing of previously constructed desirable female attributes that are meant to please and entice a potential audience. That is why the re-inserting of flesh in its corporal form into the domestic, the intellectual, and the intimate spaces of culture is an act of disturbance.
In my work, I construct ‘bodies’ out of furniture, home appliances, and other day-to-day objects. These objects, which we experience on a daily basis, such as a mattress, bathtub or sofa are tailored to the human body and thus inherit some of its qualities. My work examines what these bodily characteristics would be, animating these materials to create a space between body and object.
Through the worn out characteristics of my materials I indicate and point to three bodies: the user - the absent body present as only a trace or index within the second body - the material itself. Finally, the third body, the viewer, who's gaze constructs and interprets the first and second bodies by relating them to the viewer's own flesh. My objects put on a ‘fleshy performance’. Fluids oozing out of crevices in the material, plump curvy layers hug and intertwine, giving characterization to the corporeal. When does the body end, when do flesh and object begin? That abjection is the starting point of my work, exploring a bodily existence that spreads to objects and images, as if contagious.