Five stones

By EstyDrori, Curator of "Jacks" ("Five Stones"), Jaffa, April 2019.

"Jacks", or "Five stones", is the foundation stone of Iri Kaplan's work, as well as of the ancient children's game.  Just like any other game, "Jacks" too has some basic rules. The stones are equal in size and material, made out of identical cubes of stone and iron. The game is conducted in stages, and it requires a sleight of hand, as well as specific pitching and catching skills.

The game itself- combined with Iri's child memories, and with contemplating situations in which one must undergo all stages, until victory is finally gained- have led to an idea,  which later crystalized into an exhibition. Kaplan plays with the material, forming her own version of the game. She begins with five cubes, made out of stone, and those gradually evolve. The cubes undergo a metamorphosis. The material changes, the number of stones is increased, and a transformation occurs. In "Iri's version" of the game, the stone body becomes a human body, gaining each time a different shape, dimension, and character, while the polished, square stones evolve into colorful, round characters.

Through Kaplan's 'humanization process' of the five stones, bodily organs emerge: heads, facial features, hands, and legs. Kaplan forms a narrative, built around a group of friends sharing a human connection, one which is expressed in their cubic structure- their shared DNA.

Through the legs, the characters grow, progressing from stage to stage and from shape to shape. Each of the group members evolve, adapting herself a distinct role and character.

The first, square figure is a simple one, built around one central character- the cube. She is changeless, free of conflict, accepting her own square figure. The square ones know their role and position within the group: the cleaners hold up their cleaning instruments, while the others march, waving their hands all over the place. Kaplan, however, does not stop there. She continues to develop the characters, while gradually omitting their organs. This way the figure becomes rounder, softer, while simultaneously removing her former roughness and oddness. This figure is now more complexed. It is homogenic from the perspective of material and color,  but also  has, simultaneously,  a rich array of characters, each of them  symbolizing a different potential figure: childhood heroes, characters from children stories, and creatures from deep within the artist's imagination.

The exhibition displays the evolution process of the characters, while holding on to the typology of the number "five".

If "Iri's version" of five stones will continue to evolve, it is possible that  by an artistic, creative  manipulation Kaplan will turn one of the figures into another, or that she will decide to break the  rules of the narrative, adding another character to the story.