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  • From: 14 october 2023
  • Through: 26 may 2024
  • Location: Museum de Fundatie

Art in the Vide - Ruthi Helbitz Cohen

n her work, Ruthi Helbitz Cohen explores the current condition humaine, or rather the condition féminine. Her canvases and installations are filled with semi-transparent female bodies surrounded by plants, animals or loose body parts. Like a scientist dissects an animal, Helbitz Cohen takes apart the bodies and then reassembles them like a puzzle that is just not quite right. Her figures are not portraits but archetypes. While the artist uses highly personal symbolism, the main characters in her work are universal.


Museum de Fundatie is showing some of Helbitz Cohen's large canvases in a presentation in the entrance area in Zwolle. The six-metre-long canvases are partly painted and partly pasted with collage-like elements. Notable is the use of drop-off tape from the family business, a construction company her grandfather founded. Among these works hangs her Veil of Tears, a curtain composed of gold-coloured tears, made in the Israeli town of Ramla together with Palestinian and Jewish women. The tears initially appear to refer to (female) suffering, but as a whole they form a veil that not only covers and adorns but also protects.

In her latest work, Joker, the familiar mask from the Batman films is clearly recognisable. Helbitz Cohen uses it embedded in a plant-like structure, connected to a figure standing upside down. Her work reflects on the gruesome, the abysses we all salvage within us, but in a playful, poetic, often humorous way. For instance, a loose kidney hangs by a thread carried by a dragonfly, and death and a witch simultaneously reach out to a heart. In the end, hope and enchantment win out over horror. The artist looks for discomfort and small changes in the thought processes of those viewing her work, aiming to show through the pain also the beauty.

Ruthi Helbitz Cohen lives and works in Israel. There have been many exhibitions of her work, including at sculpture museum Beelden aan Zee (The Hague), Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art (Herzliya), Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (Thessaloniki) and at Whiteconcepts Gallery (Berlin). Helbitz Cohen has won a number of awards, and her work features in many museum and private collections around the world. This exhibition is the first in the new series Art in the Vide at Museum de Fundatie Zwolle. This series enlivens the museum’s entrance area, arouses curiosity and contributes to the museum as a meeting place for everyone.

The Moving Gallery in Utrecht will show paintings, works on paper and videos by Ruthi Helbitz Cohen from 21 October to 12 November.


mdf_ruthi_helbitz_cohen©_peter_tijhuis_3Photos: Peter Tijhuis

  • From: 14 Oct 2023
  • Through: 26 May 2024
  • Location: Museum de Fundatie

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