במרכז אולם הכניסה שני פסלים, אפפל (שאריות), של נאוה ברג ואותו לעזאזל, של ישעיהו רבינוביץ שיחד יוצרים רגע מרהיב. ברג יצרה מה שניתן
לתאר כאין קופסה, או מזוודה שעלתה על גדותיה ותכולתה, צרור ענק של בדים, מזכירה חבילות שנושאם איתם פליטים במנוסה . רבינוביץ יצר סוס קרטון ענק בתנוחת נפליה -קרסיה כשראשו נחבט ברצפה. היחס בין הפסלים, הוא כשל השלמה – הצבעונית הכאילו עממית לעומת צחיחות הקרטו, ההצטנפות של בדים שיש בה כאמור הרגשה של פליטות מקבלת איכויות של פופ בגלל קנה המידה הגדול של העבודה. הסוס מתקשר לפיסול קלאסי כמו הסוסים במלחמות הלאפיתים והקנטאורים בגמלוני מקדשים יוונים, רב כוח אבל מת. יחד נןצרת תחושה של שיירה אבסורדית של כישלון החוצה את המוזיאון כמו תזכורת לחוסר סלחנות החוץ .
להצלחת התערוכה מסייע הפרוש הרחב במיוחד שניתן למונח “בוגרים” כאשר גם אמיר יציב ,שסיים את בצלאל לפני שש שנים נכלל בין המציגים. יציב
שפועל בברלין מתבלט כאחד מיוצרי הוידיאו הישראלים המענינים ביותר. ההתיחסויות שלו לנושאים לאומים ופוליטיים אינו נופל לקלישאות והאמירות שלו רחוקות מלהיות סובטיליות . בוידיאו Superstition in the Pigeon , מ 2013,הוא דן במושג הטעון של ירושלים, וירושלים כבית .
הווידיאו ענני סתיו, 2012 שלביא הציגה בתערוכת הבוגרים של בצלאל ביולי היה אחת העבודות שהצדיקו את הביקור בתערוכה ונחרטו בזיכרון. בוידיאו
שמוקרן כאן שוב נראית קבוצת ילדים ונערים שמתנהלת לבד באזור כפרי מזרח אירופאי. נוצר מתח בין היופי הרב של הילדים והטבע לבין תחושה של יתמות, אובדן ותלישות. עיצוב התלבושות והאביזרים ממקם אותם בשנות ה ארבעים או החמישים של המאה הקודמת כך שהקשרי מלחמת העולם השנייה ברורים ומעיקים.לביא אינה יוצרת קתרזיס עבור הצופים – אין ישועה למשתתפים או רגע בו המצב הלא ברור מתבהר.
מגדל אור , מיצב קול של יונתן גולדמן היא עבודה מקסימה. באמצעות מחשב זעיר מועבר
יפות הן גם העבודות של זוודיתו יוסף סוגרת מכללת ספיר השנה. יוסף מציגה עבודות שהתפתחו
מתוך פרויקט הסיום שלה . בעוד כוחו של פרויקט הסיום היה בהתייחסות להיסטוריה האישית שלה כעולה מאתיופיה העבודות החדשות תחרות פחם ו מונומנטים מכילות טווח רגישויות נרחב בהרבה. הפחם, חומר שטמון בו סיפור של שינוי, שרפה, ולחץ משמש אותה ליצור עבודות שבירות ,פריכות אבסטרקטיות שנראות כהכלאה בלתי אפשרית בין ציור של פרנץ קליין ועבודות הסילואט של קארה ווקר. המונומנטים, פיסות פחם משומרות במיכלי זכוכית מסקרנים במיוחד. יוסף מבודדת אותם כך שהם מזכירים שימור מוצגים ביולוגים או רליקוויות, אסטטיקה של מוזאוני טבע וגם באופן מעניין את קִפסוּל תערוכתה הנוכחית של אילנה סלמה אורתר המדברת על עקירה פליטות וזהות נזילה.
“Rising Star,” the exhibition which opened recently at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, is an opportunity to think about and celebrate the power of art.
The exhibition is a collection of works by 37 graduates of art schools in Israel, forming a shaky basis for an exhibition in a public museum. A parade of young talents is much less then what is expected from such an institution, an exhibition whose very title sounds like a name of one more reality show in the genre of “A Star is Born” (although the Hebrew title comes from the biblical portion “Balak,” from the Book of Numbers).
The extent to which we engage in graduation exhibitions each July is blown out of all proportion, nurtured by aggressive public relations campaigns paid for by the various arts academies, hoping to attract many new (paying) students. This is the way vague halos are formed around young artists who often create uninteresting art benefiting from the title “fresh” art, because it was made by freshly graduated artists. The idea that this PR festival has a “re-run” in a museum about six months later is not a very happy notion.
Nevertheless, “Rising Star” is an excellent exhibition with a long line of fascinating works (alongside some unneeded ones). A pity the labels fail to mention each artist’s alma mater, because they would definitely show the signs of the lessening hegemony of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, and the Midrasha College of Art, Beit Berl, although these schools still predominate.
The photographs by Ofer Bessudo (a Minshar School of Art graduate) are wonderful. The works on exhibit were shown at the school, and we can only hope that this is not one-time brilliance but the beginning of an extended, creative project. Bessudo works in black and white analog photography, using relatively long film exposures of Israeli cityscapes and its buildings: their balconies, some of which are like storerooms, shuttered and open windows, rough human spaces whose ugliness is concealed by night which draws a veil of mystery across them. Due to the long exposures, only objects remaining still for a long period of time appear in the works. The signs of existence thereby become refined, as the photograph blinds more than it reveals, allowing reality to cover its face, leaving the architectural contour lines, suffused with memories of modernism. The association to modernism is reinforced by concrete wall on which the works are exhibited.
Two sculptures at the entrance, Appel (Remnants) by Nava Berg, and That One to Azazel by Yeshaiahu Rabinowitz, create a breathtaking moment. Berg created a kind of box or a suitcase overflowing with a huge bundle of fabric, reminiscent of parcels refugees carry. Rabinowitz created a huge cardboard horse falling or collapsing, its head crashing against the floor. The sculptures are in a complementary relationship, with what seems to be folk-like colorfulness vis à vis the pristine blankness of the cardboard. The cluster of cloth with associations of refugees takes on Pop Art qualities because of the large scale. The horse resonates with classical sculpture, such as the horses in the war between the Lapiths and the Centaurs on the pediments of Greek temples, intensely powerful but dead. Together they form a feeling of an absurd chain of failures crossing the Museum, a reminder of the lack of forgiveness from the outside.
The painful installation by Shai Ratner, Tre Fontana, whose placement seems to be on the margins of the show, is installed where the permanent collection is usually placed, behind the entrance hall. The work speaks in crude language, differing from the other artworks, engaging in what is scorned and rejected wrapped up in the religious. Both spheres – the determination of what is to be rejected and considered base (mainly as associated with the body), and the creation of religion – were vital to separate the human being from Nature. Ratner built what seems as public squat toilet, unacceptable in the West, exposed as it were behind the Museum wall. The title, which means “Three Fountains” in Italian, implies the promise of beautiful fountains, hinting at the story of St. Paul’s martyrdom. According to the myth, Paul’s severed head touched the ground three times before stopping and each place it touched, a spring burst forth. The mixture of sacred and mundane which Ratner created refers to the status of museums, crowned as “modern temples.” By bringing the abject into the sacred, Ratner is bringing an idol into the sacred precincts. A precedent in Israeli art is Sigalit Landau’s engagement with the debased at the early stages of her career. She created a hybrid from a female figure and a toilet as early as 1997, exhibited at the Israeli Pavilion at Venice (now in the permanent exhibition of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art) and in the bathroom installation at the Museum of the Underground at Art Focus 2003.
A noted international precedent is Ilya Kabakov’s installation “Toilet” shown at Documenta 1992. As the USSR fell apart, Kabakov created an image of a home inside a public toilet to speak of the degrading poverty which became the lot of many since Perestroika, and about the changed attitude of the public (public toilets) and the private. Ratner does not tell a story, but portrays the human, signified only excretions, like an animal marking out its territory, in the full intensity of his miserableness and ugliness ripping the illusions of protectiveness which created museum space.
The exceptionally broad interpretation given to the term “graduates” helped the success of this exhibit, allowing the inclusion of Amir Yatziv, who graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, six years ago. Yatziv, who works in Berlin, stands out as one of the most interesting Israeli video artists. He avoids clichés when engaging in national and political subjects, but his statements are far from subtle. His video art, “Superstition in the Pigeon” (2013), discusses the complex issue of Jerusalem, and of Jerusalem as home.
A miniature camera was attached to the back of a pigeon (with no harm done to the pigeon, as the Museum’s director told me). In this way, the pigeon, flying homeward, has become a documentarian of the lovely, scarred, burdened Jerusalem landscape, filming in an unusual pace and angle. From above, Jerusalem turns into a mixture of landscapes and layers, its political divisions erased. As a political metaphor, the work is explicit: a natural mechanism directs pigeons to make every effort to return home to their birthplace from wherever they are. Similar to all those who claim Jerusalem would willingly adopt this image of return of the symbol of peace for its home. It became more complex when it turned out that the name was taken from a 1947 study which found that pigeons can develop patterns of superstitious belief, an ironic comment on the entire issue of nationalism and cleaving to the place.
Other outstanding video works are by Gili Lavy and Tzion Abraham Hazan. Autumn Clouds, 2012, which Lavy exhibited at the Bezalel graduate show last July, is one of the works that justifies the visit to Herzliya and is memorable. The video portrays a group of children and adolescents alone in a rural area of Eastern Europe. The video creates tension between the great beauty of the children and of nature, and the feeling of orphanhood, loss and alienation. Their clothes and objects place them in the 1940s or 50s, creating clear and oppressive associations to World War II. Lavy does not create a catharsis for viewers, and provides no relief for participants, nor does the unclear situation become clear. The quality of the work is superb. This is classical filmmaking, as the director builds a scene and frames with impressive dependence on the history of cinema and on art history. Lavy delves down to the roots of the emotional infection while creating distance or even a disconnection, between shaping what is beautiful into content.
Tzion Abraham Hazan represents a different direction of making art. He engages in what is immediate, contemporary, and political in the most primary sense of the exposed power structures. Very close to his graduation from the Midrasha in 2013, his work Marganit was exhibited in the graduates’ show and in a one-person show at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The work referring to the military compound in Tel Aviv, with the Marganit Tower, speaks about power and secrecy, and garnered an enthusiastic response. The current work is a video installation, screening a young man dancing alone, surrounded by people photographing him with their cellular phones. Projected onto a rough wall, the granular image seems like a type of amateur videography. Hazan succeeds in transforming viewers into participants: viewers who cross the beams of the projectors seem to join into the same circle of viewers surrounding the man. The ensuing feeling is repressive, as the dance becomes like a torture ritual, as if everyone knows the man will dance to death, the chain of associations moves between Horace McCoy’s novel “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” (portraying a dance marathon contest during the Depression in the USA, on which a film and play were based), and between horrifying associations to the Holocaust and to the many reality programs which blur and sometimes erase the border between entertainment and humiliation and cruelty. The choice of a dancing man instead of a woman points to a type of looking at violence that can be called more “disposable.”
Lighthouse, a sound installation by Jonathan Goldman, is a charming work. A miniature computer transmits sounds from the Herzliya beach to the Museum, sounds of waves and people, conveyed to a wooden structure with a round window The light, which was blue and green during my visit, depends on the intensity of the sounds at the shore. The projection from the outside to inside has already been done many times in the past, in Israel as well, (as for example, in Israel in the piece by Irit Batzri shown at Beit Mani, Tel Aviv, as part of the Herzliya Biennale about two years ago). There is a great beauty in the translation of the seaside sounds into an essentially abstract work, despite the wooden lighthouse being reminiscent of guard towers.
Zaudito Yosef graduated from Sapir Academic College. The works exhibited developed from her graduation project, which addressed her history as an immigrant from Ethiopia. Yosef’s new works Coal Contest and Monuments contain broader range of sensitivities. She uses coal, a material embodying a narrative of change, burning, and pressure, to create fragile, brittle abstractions which look like an impossible graft between Franz Klein paintings and Kara Walker silhouettes. The Monuments, pieces of coal preserved in glass containers, are especially intriguing. Yosef isolates them in a way reminiscent of biology exhibits or reliquaries, the aesthetic of nature museums, and interestingly, it is reminiscent of Capsule by Ilana Selma Orthar with its references to political relocation and fluid identity. A discussion of the increasing presence of artists from the Ethiopian community is beyond the scope of this article, but the two voices from this community – Yosef and Or Temasa (who exhibited Stain in 2012) – are promising.
Other outstanding artworks are by Avinoam Sternheim, Majd Amori, Orit Ishay, Lali Fruheling and Margarita Perlin.
Curators: Dalia Levin, Ghila Limon, Tal Bechler
Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art
4 Habanim Street, Herzliya
Open: Tues., Thurs., 4 – 8 p.m.
Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat. 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.