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"Shever" - Break, Collapse- The Exhibition (7.11.02)































Equality is an ideal aspired for by mankind since the very beginning of humanity.
The Kibbutz - a community based on equal rights and duties - is an attempt to make this ideal come true.
Seemingly, an elevated and sublime attempt with no equal, with an endurance and resistance which for three generations have appeared to be everlasting.

Nevertheless, hardly any expressions of this realization of equality in daily life can be found in plastic art; only very few artists have dealt with this subject, and in that case they have usually pictured it as an idyll. The reason might be either the difficulty in describing the complexity of the realization of the Ideal of the Kibbutz, or the group discipline of the kibbutz leaving no room for any shred of criticism which could have been perceived as a betrayal of the ideal.

Questioning the very existence of the Kibbutz was unthinkable until some years ago. But in our troubled era, when many other 20th century born ideals are shattered, this ideal too is breaking and falling apart.

Three kibbutz-born artists, sons of the founders, in the midst of their lives, have gathered in this exhibition to express - each in her/his own way - the dismantling of the ideal.

Talila Grinberg, Curator

Yuval Danieli - in "The Way to Tranquility" - waves his story around the water tower and the path leading to the cemetery of his own kibbutz, Ha-Maapil. Danieli investigates, assembles and documents materials of the kibbutz. He is deeply acquainted with its inner code and artistic language which were mainly expressed in posters, new-year greetings and book illustrations.
His research leads him to a profound perception of the meaning of the water tower of the Kibbutz, especially when it was erected as part of the settlements of "H'oma-UMigdal" ("Tower and Stockade" - system of building Jewish settlements in Mandatory Palestine). The details he has gathered enable him to know the size and height of the water tower, and at the same time they awaken his own memories of his 'private' tower.

In this exhibition Danieli builds a tower outside the gallery, in the arena of Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. He builds it with the help of both Israeli non-Jewish and foreign workers, and all along documents the building process of this accurate replica of the water tower of the 30ies, though his tower is not standing up right, but rather lying on the ground, a fallen tower.
This fallen tower will be exhibited in the gallery in Teddy Stadium, all wrapped up with the shrouds of the white walls of the gallery.
The screening of the filmed documentation of the building process turns the spectator into a partner of both the building and the falling of the tower, as if history is projected in front of his eyes in quick motion.

A loaded symbolism can be imposed on the Tower, first erected in 1936, on the eve of World War II, whilst the Jewish settlers had no past in common but rather an unclear future absorbed with 19 th century humanistic ideals. The Tower witnessed time passing by: the armed guards of the fields, those who 'sounded the alarm' when the Brits came looking for weapons, first loves, first disappointments, first-born children and the birth of their memories. The Tower is huge and grand, surpassing everything. It has observed from afar the horror committed overseas, history paraded all around it. It is the ' Empire State Building' of every kibbutz-born child, his height both menacing and tempting to be conquered. This tower has heared political disputes and mordant personal discussions, it saw bitter disappointments and endless joys, it bore the flags of sovereignty - the flag of the nation and the red flag of the social class. And at night it was also the lighthouse shedding light upon the dark ploughed fields.

Video filming & directing: Yuval Yarni
Stills: Dalia Yarni, Dani Wasserlauf

The work of Ami Valach is made of many a strata, not all disclosing at first sight. We see it through a screen, a transparent veil, a texture rich curtain, which we would like to unveil so that we can identify the furthest stratum. But as we go on watching, we discover that this far stratum, the basic ground, is made of photos taken in the kibbutz yard, consisting of typical local elements such as the water tower, the cowshed and the entrance to the 'private' room of the kibbutz member. The monochromic colours create an ambience of old photos dating from the beginning of the 20th century. The multiplicity of the tree leaves enhances the impression of wind blowing in the trees, and the flying of the curtain adds to the feeling of an ongoing movement.
In the front of the stage an additional silhouette draws the possible way for the viewer's approach to this work. A line of cows flies in the air, one of which is hanging on a flag bearing rope. Another photo shows the silhouette of a cat sitting on the doorstep, a living symbol of homey cosiness so that this photo could have been perceived as representing a calm and tranquil genre. But this photo is exceptional, because though Ami Valach's photos create a feeling of a poetic and romantic home, it is an airy and threatening one, trembling with the wind, uprooted, unstable.

Only lately, when a black cloud is hovering over the Kibbutz, questioning its very being, has a jet of artistic works dealing with the essence and the end of the way sprung out, as if now when there is nothing to lose, when one is openly allowed to show his cards, the Kibbutz as a home becomes more important and unspareable, so that it has to be preserved, and memories, collective and personal ones, should be carefully taken care of and treasured.

Talila Grinberg, Curator

Tzila Liss's installation "Journey in Broken Time" is an introvert and self-contained work, created by a firm, exact and restrained hand. The pain is crying out in a whisper.

The style of the installation, its signifying traits and its contents are both universal and local, so that it touches and hits a soft, vulnerable point in each and every viewer. The installation is made of diverse chapters, each bearing a story, each different in form and content yet all of them linking to form one chain. The link is created due to their placement on one platform and to other elements too, like the abstinent use of colours, and like the white human figures, identical to one another, with their featureless faces bearing bold noses, born from one pattern and installed in identical gray cells. Though the installation was wholly hand made by the artist, its perfect precision gives sometimes the feeling that it was not made by a human hand, a feeling alienating the viewer yet also arousing his desire to decipher its secret. Undoubtedly this is an enigmatic work, which conceals more than it reveals.
One of the chapters shows four white mummified persons sitting in a cell, around a square table with a transparent glass covering white identical featureless masks. Is that table taken out of the communal dining room, the symbol of the 'Togetherness' of the Kibbutz, where all decisive resolutions were decided upon, where all members were cooking and being cooked? Or maybe it expresses the alienation and loneliness of this Togetherness? Or can it be a ceremony of spiritualism?
One other chapter is the 'articles carriage', the articles being the basic assets of each kibbutz member enabling his survival when he is too sick to go to the communal dining-room so food is brought to his room, or whenever he feels the urge to be on his own and do some soul searching. But at the same time these articles are Tzila's private ones, and by showing them she is confiding in the viewer, inviting him to learn about her working, creating tools.

Black flags with printed white crosses form another chapter. Are they hinting at the crusades, which were loaded with sweeping ideology?

Blocked doors as that in Kafka's short story "Before the Law", where the guard blocks the peasant from entering the door and facing the Law appear in another chapter of the installation.

Another is a staircase leading to...? (the Sublime? the Exalted?)

A lot of other symbols belonging to the artist's inner world and her personal journey - while also reflecting the journey of many others - are expressed in that installation.
The viewer is compelled to take his own private and intimate journey, opening up to experiencing any context, explanation, translation, so that he gains his merit while on this journey.

Talila Grinberg, Curator


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