A fortuneteller unexpectedly set up shop in Chelsea’s bustling gallery center—although a reading from this woman, clad in a cloud-patterned suit, did not concern itself with the future. Using huge “tarot” cards, bearing such words as “unsubscribe,” “delete all,” and “two people like you,” Ofri Cnaani gave visitors a different sort of reading. She interpreted the words on the card, the subjects’ demeanors, and the objects with which they presented her—one personal and two selected from her large stash, stored on a wall.
Combining the high-tech, the low-fi, and the occult, Cnaani assembled collaged portraits of her customers based on that face-down card and the selected objects. The result was one of the more exciting meldings of conceptual and performance art to have appeared this season. The artist constructed these visually rich compositions with the likes of cutout transparencies of women, Mardi Gras beads, loose crystals, and fabric scraps. What the final images, captured via surveillance camera and projected on the wall to the left, and playing on a flat-screen facing the street, said about the “fortune-seekers” was unclear and general, but they nevertheless came off as specific.
In that way Cnaani was able to probe the relationship between the self and the concocted image and fashion an original copy of the facsimile.
A version of this story originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 84.
CORRECTION 07/15/2015, 9:30 a.m.: An earlier version of this article misspelled the artist's name. The post has been updated to reflect this.