Mimosa Pudica

about Ronit Baranga

In her unique artistic language, Ronit Baranga combines virtuosic skills for sculpting and hyper-realistic painting, with a tendency towards the uncanny. She creates a phantasy rooted in ancient myths and legends, telling a multi-layered tale, through the relationships interwoven between the objects, the characters and the space. Every encounter with her works provokes amazement mixed with hidden tension, between temptation and deterrence, echoing the whirlpool of emotions she pours into the works.

Her sculptures are metonymies — each plate can carry a symbolic representation of a hot meal, but the mouth lurking in it mocks and screams. Every kettle with its arms stretched around a cup might seem embracing or smothering. Every vessel and object has its own personality, but she does not deprive them from their original, porcelain delicate context, thus making a comment on a sublimate culture that feeds itself to oblivion.

A figure of a girl on the verge of femininity is in the heart of her Mimosa Pudica installation of this May, 2017. Her eyes shut as if looking inwards, her expression anxious, anticipating. Her many fingers fold and stretch out, prepared to capture the world or to shy away from it, to give in or to shut down. Her torso rises from the room’s floor, does it nourish on her roots or does the room hold her down? Many hands reach out to touch her, caught short on their way while she is trapped in the thicket, or perhaps she is the one pulling the strings.

Her long, red hair corresponds with figures of nymphs and goddesses from Titian and Botticelli to Munch, Schiele and Klimt. Ronit puts her on displays, but she curls in shyly, withdrawn. Is she aware of the gaze watching her, the movement in the space around her? Her hair grows wild, perhaps hinting internal storms swarming behind the sealed face. She seems in some kind of an inner trance. The girl is a live-still-life hybrid, a garden shut, erotically charged with emotions and over-sensitivity, with potential of life and death.

The home is perceived as a bipolar concept: between a safe base and a deadly trap. A newborn baby lies silent, heartbreaking, asleep or abandoned. Household vessels lurk for her, threatening to devour her. The very relationship between the baby and the home passes through the no-mans-land of the cupboard, without a warm hand caressing and protecting — as the hands are bound by their actions, forever busy, troubled and tangled within themselves.

On top of the cupboard, a Mimosa Pudica — sensitive as a baby, sprouting like a young girl. Shivering and flinching to a sudden touch and slowly opening again, expanding her curious leaves, closing her eyes and giving in to the caressing sunlight. The sensual and responsive plant is the metaphor at the center of this solo exhibition held at The Red House, Tel-Aviv. And certainly at the center of a sensitive soul like hers as well. Ronit was born, lives and creates in Israel.


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