Q&A with Gil Yefman

Gil Yefman, Tum Tum. Produced within the framework of "Otherness - I is somebody else" - Exhibition organised by Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, (c) Pauline Guyon/Louis Vuitton

Gil Yefman's work deconstructs canonised, familiar myths from varied beliefs and traditions, confronting the conformative structures that limit our ways of seeing. In his words: "I indulge in the therapeutic virtues of knitting as means to dwell on personal and collective traumas, as well as to reflect upon recurrent obsessive patterns in mankind's societies. I try not to limit myself to certain medium or practice. The style or the medium is chosen in relation to the concept and subject matter and should generate attraction for creating a radical cultural chain reaction." In today's Q&A, we ask him about his latest work, Tumtum.

Why knitting?

I have a strong predilection for the “craftwomanship” of crochet knitting which I find resembles writing - long, rapid, carefully calculated and monotonous movements. It is very much like a collection of syllables that create a narrative - the object. The texts and contexts become textures that suggest an alternative interpretation to dogmatic translations.

Tell us about your most recent project.

My recent projects are currently shown in the “Otherness - I Is Somebody Else” exhibition at the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton in Paris. The exhibition consists of a large knitted sculpture with a built-in sound system, an additional performance entitled “TUMTUM”. It also includes a 2-channel video installation entitled “In-Between”, which was co-produced by LV especially for this exhibition. “Tumtum” is a biblical pre-medical term referring to a the hermaphroditic identity, while in modern Hebrew it simply means ‘stupid’ and is a common curse. I was intrigued by the etymological evolution of this term, and by the intolerance of modern society towards what is considered to be different to the norm.   

Louise Bourgeois said “art is a guarantee to sanity” and I firmly believe in that dictum. My work is aimed at inspiring all peoples; it is meant to transcend differences among human beings and encourage all of us to cherish and explore the intrinsic potential of the world we live in. My work embodies the transformation of poison into medicine, and hopefully those who visit the exhibition will also be motivated to stand up for freedom of thought and expression.

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