Ost / Die asporas in Jaffa

Merchav gallery 3.7.14 « 7.8.14

The exhibition OST repositions its artists as spectators in a place which does not belong to them, within familiar territory. Accordingly, they contemplate on various modes of merger and oscillation between representations of East and West, and the various historical and cultural baggage which this encounter unearths.

The seaport of Jaffa was perceived by the early Zionist immigrants as the main gate to the East. These curious newcomers, who came from Europe to Palestine during the 19th and early 20th centuries, arrived in ships from the Mediterranean sea, bearing in mind a vivid exotic vision of the land destined to become their new home.

As they approached Jaffa's port, a first concrete image of the unknown land was established, comprising a rare mix or fantasy and reality; encapsulating a desired promise of utopia on virgin soil. This view was instilled by the visual and written propaganda which accompanied the Zionist movements in Europe, and attracted many entrepreneurs to emigrate to Palestine, in pursuit of the Zionist dream (most notable are as the many illustrations of Ephraim Moshe Lilien, which supported him in his intellectual endeavor to encourage the migration to Palestine.)

And so now, the Die Asporas artists have been asked to fill the shoes of those early visionaries, and to try and trace back their Orientalist Zionist stance.  However, the dubious and playful approach of this late generation, who now is able to see right through the archaic ideological veil, creates a set of artistic works which manages to glorify its orientalist practice to the verge of ridicule, thereby disarming it from its power. Following a careful examination of early documents which depicted the imaginary landscapes of this non existing land, such as engravings, photographs, and decorative items; be it tourist souvenirs and trade artifacts or the visual attempts to portray the multicultural ideals of that era, OST offers a collection of personal associations and reflections on this defining moment in modern history.

If only for a brief moment, this new contemporary set of fictitious historical documents seeks to change the common narrative by means of aesthetic intervention. Herein lies a suggestion to reconstruct an alternative version of the a total artistic experience of the early Bezalel days (the first Israeli art school, originally conceived in Berlin); a perfect mix of craft, design, decoration and conceptual art.

A late perspective on the first immigrations to Palestine
Merchav gallery for art, Jaffa
opening: 3.7 « 20:00
3.7- 7.8.2014

Lior Wilentzik 

Dorit Bialer
Gali Cnaani
Yemima fink
Mia gourvtich
Ella Manor
Gabriel S Moses
Lior Wilentzik
Alina Shmukler

Press release