“Depletion: Works from the Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd.”

Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, March-June 2008


The exhibition “Depletion: Works from the Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd.”, based on acquisitions made in recent years to the Doron Sebbag Art Collection, sets out to explore the manifold meanings of depletion processes in the work of forty-eight artists from Israel and abroad. The word “depletion” has two major denotations: One refers to a physical, material, bodily act, while the other concerns a more abstract occurrence, such as the loss of value, idea or significance.


The works featured in the exhibition address real processes of emptying in our environment or body. The emptied or emptying image operates in them in different ways, at times violently, at other times in enigmatic, metaphorical expressions. Depletion may result from the mechanical operation of the work itself; it may emerge as the outcome of the creative process; or it may reflect a focus on structure, with a lack of regard for human presence. Emptying and depletion are also associated with Zen Buddhist and meditative practices of mind-emptying as a means of enlightenment. These and other acts elicit in the viewer an awareness of the presence of nothingness, of the void, in the very yearning for fullness ­– a yearning that is forever frustrated.


The exhibition moves between three fields: The first concerns the sublime, or more precisely – the void that is charged with meanings drawn from the terminology of the sublime; the second brings together manifestations of emptying and absence in depictions of places, settings or architectural spaces; the third addresses the direct products of the body’s emptying on two levels: the motif of “stain,” “spilling” or “splatter,” and the context of the body voiding its excretions and secretions. All these reflect the theme of infinite depletion as a cyclical act of creation and renewal, which also evokes existential angst and the fear of entropy.