Noa Eshkol

Artist, choreographer, dancer and professor

© National Library of Israel

Noa Eshkol (1924, Palestine – 2007, Israel) was an artist, choreographer, dancer and professor. In the 1950s, together with architect Avraham Wachman, Eshkol developed a system of movement notation (Eshkol Wachman Movement Notation – EWMN) which uses a combination of symbols and numbers to note down the movements of the body and organize them into categories which can then be studied and repeated. Eshkol developed various choreographies with the help of the EWMN system, in which, without depending on the music or the costume, dance becomes a process of interaction between bodies in space and a communitarian activity. EWMN thus transcended the field of dance and can be a tool for observing the relationship between any body and its surroundings, and can be applied in various fields, including studies of language and of behavior.

In 1973, during the Yom Kippur war, Eshkol stopped dancing and began the production of her Wall Carpets. This work was made only with used materials, never bought ones: the artist collected cast-off clothes and rags, and the carpets were sewn in a joint effort together with her dancers. These compositions varied between abstractions and still lifes. In The House of Bernarda Alba (Virgin) (1978), for example, an arrangement of light colors surrounds a square of green fabric. The title alludes to the play of the same name by Federico García Lorca, in which there are growing tensions between a manipulative mother and her five daughters. In the composition, the square represents a sort of window, suggesting a possible escape from the repressive conditions in the house.


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