Cristina Weiss's exhibition at Office in Tel Aviv Gallery will present her works as a testimony from the COVID-19 period in Israel, indicating the difficulties of survival. The soft collages are set in rusty iron frames as a metaphor for the crisis of the time, which has left its imprint on us and has not yet passed. Most of all, the exhibition delves into the innermost chambers of Weiss's heart.
"With every seam I sew my wishes and prayers. Nowadays it is customary to save everything in the cloud, and I ask myself, will the cloud remember? Embroidery is my private cloud, a kind of will and testimony for the near-distant environment."
Weiss creates collages from fine soft fabrics, which require great delicacy. The thread and needle inserted in them in the act of embroidery, injure them, but at the same time, in the very same act, also connect them to form a structure of fabrics replete with pleats, flowing downward due to gravity. The collage is woven in symbiosis between the fabrics' colors and the embroidered images. The fabrics' natural movement is preserved, alluding to the world of dance, which is imprinted in Weiss's roots as a ballet dancer, a field from which she draws inspiration even today.
The transitions and connections between the fabrics produce a complex system, based on an inherent interdependence between the various materials, which strive for independence but merge into one collage. The clever use of textiles preserves a sense of freshness, evident in the works despite their meticulous quality, reflecting the needle's dance on the painting surface. As a painter and a dancer, she brings two content worlds together, and through careful coloration produces a delicate interplay between the world of dance and the world of painting. In some instances the embroidery emerges as a surface of color, and in others it is present as a movement-saturated color drawing.
Weiss addresses themes such as Byzantine icons, but instead of depicting saints, she combines natural landscapes in a religious composition. The embroidery of leaves, marked by contour only, conveys the feeling that they cannot be filled—a void that attests to the essence of life. "I sought the unknown," she says, adding: "My dream is to draw music." During the COVID-19 period, Weiss began creating collages from fabrics that she stitched together into a grounds for embroidery. The brush was replaced by a needle and threads. The works are created intuitively. The fabrics are derived from unused clothing, and on rare occasions she allows herself to purchase an additional piece of fabric, whose color is important to the composition. The embroidered stitches leave their traces and imprint on the fabrics, articulating reflections, feelings, and memories. Weiss paves a personal, unique path to remember and be remembered; she sews the fabric of her life.
Cristina Weiss (b. 1944, Bucharest; lives and works in Tel Aviv) was born in Romania to a Jewish mother and a Greek Christian father. As a child she studied ballet, and in her youth she performed as a dancer in a musical-opera theater in the port city of Gala?i on the banks of the Danube. In 1965 she immigrated to Israel with her husband Harry Weiss, who was a painter of theater sets. That same year, she was accepted to the Israel National Opera under the direction of Edis de Philippe, and since then has danced in the opera, and in musicals staged by the Giora Godik Theater. In 1967 she was admitted into the Bat-Dor ballet troupe.
In 1974, Weiss turned to painting and sculpture studies at the Avni Institute in Tel Aviv under artists Moshe Sternschuss and Yehezkel Streichman. Her artistic work was deeply influenced by Streichman, as well as by British painter Howard Hodgkin and Romanian painter Ion ?uculescu . She has since devoted her life to oil painting on canvas, bronze sculpture, and woodcutting. Concurrently, throughout the years, she worked as a ballet teacher at Bikurei Ha'Itim Performing Arts Center and the School of the Arts, both in Tel Aviv.