Art of the State: Contemporary Photography and Video Art from Israel

Jewish Historical Museum, Noord-Holland, Amsterdam, 06/27/2008 - 11/30/2008

Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1


From 27 June to 30 November 2008 the Jewish Historical Museum presents the exhibition Art of the State with photographs and video works by sixteen artists from Israel. Through their works they reflect upon their country: the community in which they live, the numerous cultural and religious differences among Israel’s population and the current political situation. Some artists are critical while others give expression to their hopes and dreams. The participating artists exhibit regularly in museums and galleries around the world. The exhibition coincides with the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of Israel. During its relatively short existence Israel has been at the centre of events that have had a widespread social impact: immigration by Jews from all around the world, wars with its neighbouring countries and the ongoing tension between Israelis and Palestinians. Israelis constantly give voice to their views on the social and political situation in their country. Some of these voices are to be heard in this exhibition, in which artists give their personal visions of life in Israel through photographs and video works. Some are probing and confrontational, others are subtle and poetic. Lifeguard Towers by Guy Raz (1957), for example, is a series of photographs of the beaches in Tel Aviv and Gaza. In both places the sand, sea, horizon and even the lifeguard towers are the same, as indeed is the need to save lives. The works of Adi Nes (1966) are poetic and occasionally inspired by biblical scenes. His photograph Abraham & Isaac comments on social inequality in Israel. Pavel Wolberg (1966) makes more journalistic photographs such as those about the interaction between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians. Video art is represented by, among others, Yael Bartana (1970). Her film A Declaration shows a man rowing towards a rock in the sea, where he replaces the Israeli flag with an olive sapling as a symbol of peace. Dana Levy (1973) contributes the beautiful work entitled The Dreamers in which Israelis and Palestinians tell us about their dreams. The participants are children, youths, prisoners and poets – those who have an essential and symbolic need for dreams. Art of the State includes photographs and videos by Larry Abramson, Boaz Arad, Barry Frydlender, Amit Goren, Nir Hod, Gaston Zvi Ickowicz, Erez Israeli, Miki Kratsman, Sigalit Landau, Michal Rovner and Doron Solomons. Several of the works were previously shown at the Documenta in Kassel and the Venice Biennale.

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Yael Bartana

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