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Goyim - The Exhibition (7.2.08)



“Goy” is a cultural/biological term defining - within the semantic field of Jewish culture - the figure of the alien and the presence of a certain set of genes. Similar terms serve as a back door that admits into the culture ideologies that do not relate to a person as a phenomenal informative entity, but rather, as a “child of nature” i.e. a faceless representative of a biological strain/ herd/ tribe. One characteristic of these ideologies is their adoption of the antagonism between “one of ours” and “the stranger”, which frequently gives rise to appalling phenomena of xenophobia and cultural chauvinism. The ideas underlying these ideologies have penetrated deep into society, finding expression in ostensibly innocent matters. For example, preference for the use of the word “people” - a term stressing the unity of the biological strain – rather than “population”, a neutral term which allows for society to be defined as a wide-ranging totality of sub-cultures.

Attempts to define “Israeli ness” as a fixed set of values with a lengthy tradition and unique aesthetic, stem from the influence of those ideologies on Israeli society.

Where runs the invisible line dividing the national from the nationalistic? Does any such line exist? Or do we just have an identical set of characteristics and concepts, going under different names depending on the context?

In this age of globalization and free access to data banks and contents, the idea of a “national” culture (associated with the mentality of the majority) serves as a manipulative instrument influencing social consciousness, supporting the interests of groups associated with the regime. Progress and cultural development depend upon interaction between numerous different sub-cultures. By contrast, national withdrawal and isolation, and a stress on one predominant sub-culture, lead to stagnation and a narrowing of cultural horizons.

One social task of contemporary culture (assuming that such tasks do exist) is conscious resistance to the ideology of dissolution of cultural differences. Fostering cultural differences is like polishing a diamond, whose beauty comes out in its numerous facets. Hence the great importance of channeling public interest into multi-lingual culture, and the dynamic inter-cultural coexistence and interaction of the subcultures of the minorities.

The exhibition presented here, “Goyim”, is a model of the semantic field constructed from a variety of approaches and strategies – ranging from portrayal of the situation of alienation and non-belonging, by way of nostalgia towards other cultures, and up to a reversal of the concept of “Israeli image” and an ironic view that transforms “Israeli ness” into a subject of satire. This is a cultural strategy resting upon thinking in terms of variety and infiltration of alien elements into the images embraced by the majority. The exhibition attempts the broadest possible expansion of the Israeli discourse, attempting to replace the “frozen” cultural model with a more dynamic structure comprising differences integrated into a united system. This structure contrasts with the once prevalent ideology of “melting pot” and “creating a new man”, and the current cultural situation which legitimizes the existence of mutual alienated and parallel sub-cultures, existing within the rigid framework of social camouflage in a format defined by the establishment and media.

The works on display were created in a wide variety of contemporary media: painting, sculpture, photography, installation, performance and video-art. They are organized into a structure based upon counterpoint – exhibiting differences and drawing comparisons between apparently incongruous elements.

The prevalent view claims a declining influence of the plastic arts on contemporary society. In fact, so-called “high art” generates fresh ideas, new forms and novel formulations within current popular art, design and the media.

In this manner, art conducts a social dialogue with therapeutic effect. In order to become an integral part of a multi-cultural modern civilization, Israel’s society and culture must adopt a process of globalization – not necessarily by branches of multi-national corporations, or a market of import products, but rather by adopting the super-national and multi-cultural model as the accepted thought pattern.

Curator: Andrey Lev

Hannan Abu Hussein

Hannan Abu Hussein & Erez Wagner

still from “Wool” video

Esti Alamo


Chanchal Bango

"Timeless Boundery"

Raya Bruckental

still from “Miss Piggy” video

Zoya Cherkassky

“I Have No Other Country” audio work

Masha Duchovnaya & Anna Golfand


Max Epstein


Tom Goldberg


Arcadi Greenman & Max Lomberg


Luisiana Kaplun


Shiri R. Lanton

“Book II”

Anna Lukashevsky

“Linguae Mortuae Triumphus”

Inna Polonsky

“Teudat Zeut”

Maria Pomiansky


Masha Rubin

“Golden Moment”

Esther Schneider


Angelika Sher


Boris Shpeizman

“Christmas Tree”

Erez Wagner

Ricardo Werdesheim

still from “Celestina” animated video

Maya Zack

“Half Jew”


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