Stone sculpture, Italy. Outdoor Scultures: Abu Tor, Herzlia, Bat Yam, Ashkelon. Since 1984 Workes with Ilan Gelber.
Varda was born in after-war Poland and was ten years old when she came to Israel. She depicts her parents' immigration and absorption difficulties – the obliterated, erased past, the rewriting of history and memory, in which reality and fabrication are all mixed up. In a text written for the Layers of Memory exhibition (2001), Varda Ghivoly states: I had to meet my parents' expectations, built by them out of 'how to behave in order to survive' myths: I was forced to eat since early childhood, and even as a grown-up and a grandmother, I would hear every morning the same question: 'Have you eaten today?”
The works feature a clear autobiographic basis: suits that nobody wore any more and hanged clothes suggest a lack of human presence and emptiness; a refrigerator, food remnants on the table; a European luxurious bourgeois living room, standing still in time; the image of a table and tablecloth moved in from the house, while small scale creates the impression of magnified details and their assessment; modified photographs showing family events, encased in stone frames evoking frozen time.
The domestic objects were isolated from their natural environment and became monumental – twenty percent bigger than their original size - and enhanced by the everlasting character of stone. Thus, a sense of emptiness and lack of roots was created, recalling the oppressiveness of the household environment. The narrative is conveyed in a way which generates alienation: the clean esthetic masks feelings and expressions, but retains place and time. Nevertheless, humor is there all along, a kind of clearly unsentimental and amused approach, examining from afar the interrelations between image and original, unyielding neither to the compact design of the image, nor the linkage to the original motif.