In his book The Story of Art, E.H. Gombrich says that traces of strikes with sharp tools on animal images in cave paintings are evidence of the belief of the pre-historic man that injuring a painted animal image will bring success in the hunt. In order to demonstrate the magic of such an act, even in our time, Gombrich asks if we could calmly, without fear and apprehension gouge out the eye of a beloved from a photograph. This question was on my mind when I decided to scratch into the CT (computerized tomography) images of my own brain, and indeed, the act was followed by feelings of danger and threat.
In photography there is a direct physical link between the object and the negative. "The photograph is literally an emanation of the referent. From a real body, which was there, proceed radiations which ultimately touch me, who am here." (R. Barthes, Camera Lucida)
And thus, the act of scratching the brain photographs brings me back to the cave: to deeply rooted fears and predilections, and to the elementary signs of language crystallized into art which contains on the one hand values of pure beauty, and on the other hand becomes the instrument for exorcism, defense, and healing
Avraham Eilat was born in Israel. He is Co-founder and member of Pyramida - Centre for Contemporary Art in Haifa where he has his studio. He works in various fields of visual art including painting, etching, sculpture and experimental films. His work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions and art events around the world.