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Subversive and Immersive Art With Naama Tsabar

Arts, Buenos Aires

The larger-than-life presence of Israeli-born and New York-based performance artist Naama Tsabar graced the Faena Art Center Buenos Aires last month.

Tsabar’s innovative, site-specific piece, “Melodies of Certain Damage (Opus 2)”, compelled the audience to question issues like power, eroticism, gender, and memory through radical artistry. Her sonic installation employed female and gender-nonconforming artists to break with traditional divides between popular music and contemporary art and create an entirely new immersive experience. Harkening back to the title of the work, Tsabar appropriated the male machismo act of breaking a guitar on stage during a rock performance, an act steeped in sex and violence. She then used pieces of these broken instruments to compose music and create a quiet but meaningful dialogue.

Alan Faena commissioned the work of this world-renowned artist to exemplify “our commitment to supporting artists as they work across disciplines and geographic boundaries.” Performing within the Sala Molinos but refusing to scale up her performance to fit the huge venue, Tsabar created another of the subversive gestures that define her work. Her composure with the smashed totems of sex/masculine/punk flips the script, embracing the opposite tropes— the lyrical, the feminine, the delicate. Tsabar’s works often draw elements of sex and sensuality—she plays with the construct of experience in high-concept installations and performances using “found items.”

A selection of her solo installations includes Pianissimo Gallery, Milan (2009) and Art Statements Art Basel (2008), Dvir Gallery, Tel-Aviv (2007), and Herziliya Museum for Contemporary Art, Israel (2006). Faena Art hosted “Melodies of Certain Damage (Opus 2)” for a week before it opened to the public during the weekend of Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires in September.