Chana Anushik Manhaimer - Artist
Multidisciplinary Artist & Performer, Software Engineer. Member of Binyamin Art Gallery, a cooperative gallery managed by its members.
Holds an M.F.A equivalent diploma from the Postgraduate Fine Art Program, HaMidrasha. Received a B.Sc (summa cum laude) in Information Systems from the Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont. Studied Performing Arts in Beit Zvi, Curation in Shorashim Art School & Gallery.
Works in installation, video, performance, new media, painting. Exhibited in museums and galleries in Israel and Poland and participated in international art festivals.
In my work, I explore the idea that identity might not be authentic or contain an internal kernel of "truth," suggesting instead that it is a potentially endless series of social practices through which we seek to attain an idyllic, imaginary, and unrealizable identity. These practices can be better understood as performative actions. I question what one must do in order to attain a certain identity; whether it is enough to persist in the practice to make this identity real.
I begin by assuming the existence of a fluid identity, which is an expansion of the idea behind gender fluidity, which exists as an idea only because of the limitations of a body. Defining identity practices through virtual reality has led me to re-examine the connection between the physical body and identity, between consciousness and organic and chemical processes that occur only in the physical reality.
The desire to overcome the limitations of the physical with the use of technology manifests in my work as a utopian element. This leads me to investigate the evolution in the idea of utopia as it has been transformed from the moment when technological progress became firmly associated with utopian projects during the Industrial Revolution, through cybernetics pioneers vision of the perfect symbiosis between human society and technology, up to our days, when what is best for us decided by machines. The idea of utopia today takes on a new meaning that no longer exclusively belongs to human society, but exists in a close relationship with other agencies.
Performance practices by definition challenge the perception of reality as binary (authentic-fake; truth-lie). In such practices, things are not as they appear, as every element requires an inquiry into the reality of what is presented to you.
I draw inspiration from subcultures governed by the aesthetics of distortion, that consciously or not use exaggerated, absurd, and grotesque means of expression. To take it even further, I would argue that making strange is an indelible part of any aesthetic system. This becomes especially visible in subcultures that tend to push the boundaries of “the normal,” such as kink, body culture, cosplay, etc. I appropriate images of objects or a specific language relevant to a particular subculture, defamiliarize them in order to give them meaning and interpretation of my own.
Rearranging the context, allows me to investigate the relationship between the physical body and identity. In this sense, the objects I use become prostheses or artificial additions to the body that simultaneously expand and limit the range of physical movement, turning the body into a version of an android being that is capable of doing more and less than the normal human body can do. The sculptural spaces I create are meant to initiate a sensory experience for the audience. They combine real and imagined characteristics.
My work appears as both futuristic, but also essentially physical, constructing an image that is damaged, biodegradable, but ultimately humanistic.