My Hands are the Shape of My Height September 20 – October 25, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 20, 6-8pm
Artist Talk & Performance:
Saturday, October 11, 3pm
Tamar Ettun in conversation with Yael Reinharz, Executive Director of Artis Co-presented by Artis

Transformer is honored to present a multi-media installation by Brooklyn-based Israeli artist Tamar Ettun, showcasing a selection of sculpture, photographs, performance, and video. Investigating the roles of sculpture and performance, the works exhibited explore these mediums’ conceptual capabilities, examining their ability to stimulate a physical reaction or sensation within the viewer when their functions are interchanged.
My Hands are the Shape of My Height at Transformer stems from Performing Stillness, a series Ettun continues to develop, constructed from fragments of casted body parts that continue to grow in size and complexity, investigating the physical body and the world around us. Obscuring the relationship between objects by breaking, assembling, and distorting their appearance, Ettun transforms these objects into unique works with abstracted narratives contrived through their newfound stillness.
Sourcing familiar, functional objects that have been discarded, Ettun reconstructs materials, stripping the original object of its use and meaning. “The sculptures and performances reflect two sides of my philosophy about movement and stillness, temporality and permanence,” explains Ettun. “I attempt to invert the two – the performances investigate the ability to be still and durational, and the sculptures capture the most gestural, brief movements.”
Influenced by the recent war in Israel, Ettun has begun to explore the physical symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in her work. PTSD manifests itself in a number of ways – bodily movement, hyper arousal, extreme fear, and flash backs, among several other affects. “I was amazed to find out that one of the symptoms of PTSD is the inability to feel empathy towards others and increased difficulty forming relationships,” explains Ettun. “I want to convey the bodily imprints of trauma by casting clothes and gloves that embody physical gestures: the body is absent and what is left is the memory of the movement. Clothes and gloves protect and cover our bodies from the outside world; here, they serve as an empty shell, evidence of the event.”
This body of work is a continuation of Ettun’s investigation into the relationship between performance and sculpture. “How can sculpture and performance change roles and influence each other,” asks Ettun. “Can a sculpture create a physical reaction or sensation in the viewer’s body? I hope to arouse physical reaction from the viewers by creating sculptures on a human scale that assume vaguely recognizable bodily positions. The sculptures articulate familiar movement and body parts, yet their arrangement is incoherent and distorted.”
It’s Not a Question of Anxiety, Ettun’s video piece in the exhibition, was conceived while investigating how personal and religious rituals function similarly to sculpture and movement: both fixed and unchanging, though their existence is essentially ephemeral. “Personal rituals are often the result of personal trauma, and this video highlights this,” explains Ettun. “Personal rituals may seem pointless to the external onlooker, but like religious rituals, they have meaning when seen from the inside.” This video is a series of ‘made-up’ personal, formal actions of bodies and objects, and is structured similarly to the Performing Stillness series, playing with colors, masses and obscured shapes.