Blue As An Orange

Tristeza II, 2024, installation view

The mysterious elevator door facing the busy corner of Broadway and Canal takes you to the vast and brightly lit space of Ulterior Gallery, which is currently presenting Keren Benbenisty’s second solo show with the gallery titled Tristeza II. A continuation of a 2021 show by Benbenisty, named after the same lethal virus that infects citrus trees, comprises a series of new works in various media. At the center is a 14-minute video narrating the artist’s attempt at cultivating a blue orange, a project she has been occupied with for the past several years: The bluranj, as she named it, or Tapuchol, from the Hebrew word for orange, “Tapuz” and blue, “Kachol”. The video takes us through footage from her visits to an Israeli agricultural research institute, where she met with scientists who specialize in grafting new citrus species. They questioned her ambition – why a blue orange? Benbenisty does not offer a logical explanation but rather a poetic one. The works in the exhibition tell her personal story and provide a window into the larger narrative of the region.

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