Works In Public Spaces
The Schneller Order
Noman, 2011, in the project Visit Nomansland, with Muslala and The Self Broadcasting Authority.
Cement, H 178 cm (located near the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem)
I created Noman as part of the artistic project Visit Nomansland, initiated and curated by the Muslala group and The Self Broadcasting Authority on 2011.
The territory was declared no-man's-land during the years 1949-1967, until the 6 days war, and was the border between Israel and Jordan. It is still quite evident that this is the seam between east and west Jerusalem. This place, specifically in the area around the Damascus Gate, is to this day a sensitive place, a kind of a thermometer to how high the flames are.
For several years I was active with the women's organization Machsomwatch (checkpoint watch). I would go once a week with a partner to a checkpoint somewhere in the territories, write a report and usually help some Palestinians with different problems while trying to cross into Israel (passage, permits, health issues etc.).
This particular spot used to be a place where the border police detained Palestinian passers-by to check their IDs and permits, and if there would be the slightest suspicion they would be cuffed and made to stand facing the wall until all inquiries would clear them. I was always amazed and infuriated to see people passing by, completely indifferent, as if it was a mundane sight. As if it is normal to see a person standing facing the wall with his hands cuffed.
I placed the sculpture in this particular spot to bring to the surface the subject too many people are trying to ignore and sweep under the rug, to make it evident and permanent. The image of a man half inside the wall is not only the detained Palestinian, but a reflection of the situation of our two people – trapped in a separating and segregating reality.
The sculpture is a cement cast, the same material as the separation wall is made of, the cement also being a very basic and "low" material, so adequate to a Noman.
I perceive this image as a sort of a martyr, hence the hands are so important – cuffed as they are in reality but also as a kind of a stigmata.
Pioneer, 2011, in the project Kibbutz, with the Empty House group
The work was created as part of the project "Kibbutz" of the Empty House group on 2011.
The model for this sculpture was one of the fellow artists who was active in this venture.
Two ideas are encapsulated in my motivation for this installation: The idea of the Kibbutz has become a sort of utopia,
while the socialist ideology deteriorates loosing popularity. The short-term nature of invading a deserted
place and building a temporary practical and philosophical infrastructure, which will allow for transforming the place
into an independent cultural hall, motivated me to sculpt the pioneer from a temporary and crumbling material.
The fresh-drying clay was watered once an hour by small sprinklers, slowing the process of cracking and crumbling
of the clay being exposed to the sun. During the one week happening of the Kibbutz, when the public was invited,
the sculpture cracked and crumbled slowly.
By the end of the week the place was abandoned with all the art and infrastructure in it, including the pioneer, left to deteriorate to dust.
Matters of Colour in, 2014, in the project: In its Heart a Wall
Muslala, curator: Matan Israeli
The definition of our identity is composed of colours, among other things - political identity, gender identity,
identity of nationality. To mention some of the relevant colours from the last period - the yellow badge,
the pink triangle, the green line, the purple line, the orange shirt, the blue shirt with the white/red string,
women in black, and white and blue flag versus green-black-red-white . And then, green ID, and until recently there
was also an orange one (Palestinians residing in the occupied territories) and the privileged blue ID.
In the case of the green line (or purple, for that matter), the colour defines a space and refers to a point in time.
Accordingly, it became a concept that defines the political identity of communities and moral boundaries
for different political views. For a while, people with political inclination to the center-left refrained
from wearing orange clothes, which symbolized the right wing protest against the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of Gush Katif.
The Yellow badge became a symbol of humiliation and oppression against the Jews, and therefore appeared
in various places as an answer and a proof of rebirth. In fact the ultimate justification for everything the blue ID symbolizes.
Most of the time, the colours that we find ourselves so identified with are not organic to the subject
they symbolize and sometimes totally random (the colour of the pencil in which the border between Jordan
and Israel was marked). Thinking of identity and colour the immediate context is skin colour,
which marks us already from the first glance. A colour from which there is no escape.
In my work I want to ask whether these other colours are also unavoidable. Is the need to separate
and define a particular group (by coloured identification) an indisputable human trait, thereby creating
a solidarity between the members of the specific "coloured order" and mutual hatred of those with the
different coloured identity as its mirror image?
Tell me what your colours are and I'll tell you who you are?
Chair, 2014, in the project Carriage 322, with the Empty House group
A Repeated Action
The old Jerusalem train station area is my childhood territory, which has been expropriated into a commercial
and stylish complex.
The action here re-holds the public compound and opens an inviting door turning it into a site
that allows intervention and action and a sense of a home area where all options are open.
The station has become a kind of playground and this site, with its abandonment and intimacy,
calls on me to take fragments and integrate them into biographical memories.
A childhood chair. My father built the chair from an old ironing board. With it I went through childhood experiences,
and it survived to accompany my children's childhood. I build it anew in my height as I stand and stretch my hands up.
I look at the chair and recognize my father's familiar modus operandi.
I see the course of time and the life of the chair and the life that has been experienced on it.
I look at the back of the chair I built from planks I found in the compound, and the shape is as familiar to me
as an old lullaby deep into the subconscious. I wonder with what I identify more - with the old object or with
the one I created in its likeness, or better yet with the act of recollection itself and the insights that come with
it and seep through the repetition of action from the past.
To take the wood that used to be something else - an ironing board in the case of the original chair,
and the wood that I use, whose past I know nothing of except the big rusty nails I pulled out of it.
Thus trying to keep the mark of the past and use it anew.
From time to time I accompany one of the other artists and adopt their attitude to the space they build - whether
to view it with other material and thereby change its purpose, or to connect elements that change the
perception of the space in which it is located. I want to place the chair in the garden that is being built
in the back of the compound, a parallel action in a certain way to building the chair by combining cultivation
and construction using the elements piled up in the place during its years of neglect, but at the same time
leaving traces of this desolation and other possibilities that were embodied in it.
Gown of Concrete*, 2018, during residency ARTBNB, HaMiffal, Jerusalem
Small concrete sculptures of Sabra cactus and small figures are scattered along the radius of 100 meters around the artistic venue HaMiffal (the factory). At several points along this peripheral line are pairs of a figure and a sabra cactus, both of which are cast in concrete, about 40 cm high.
When you hike in Israel, you might encounter a wall of Sabras. The significance of this accumulation of Sabras is, for the most part, that there was an Arab village in the place. The building in which HaMiffal is located was owned by Palestinians until 1948.
As one of the members of HaMiffal who benefits from the building, I wanted to relate to its history. By placing the small sculptures in a continuous circular line I try to recreate the moment of understanding the significance of encountering scattered stones and Sabras, when one realizes that there is a meaning to the accumulation of objects in the geographical sequence. I imitate the act of defining a territory with the Sabras, adding the characters that inhabited the space and the ones inhabiting it today.
* A quote from Natan Alterman's "Morning Song": We shall clothe thee with a dress of concrete and cement / And spread garden carpets over thee, / Upon the redeemed land of thy fields / The grains shall ring like bells.
HaMiffal An artist community in Jerusalem ,a collective called "Hamiffal" - an art and cultural center, located in an abandoned 19th century building.
OverView, 2019, proposal for sculptures in the public area during artists' greenhouse "Go Public"
(under the auspices of The New Gallery Artists' Studios Teddy and the Visual Art department of the Jerusalem Municipality)
A proposal for three sculptures to be placed in the industrial zone of Talpiot - aluminum cast of a bust,
about 120% of human size on a pole, painted in uniform color (the sculpture and the pillar).
My studio is located in the Talpiot industrial zone - My living space. When I come out to the street
I encounter people wondering among shops in the noisy streets. Many people, few smiles.
Many of them are immersed in their cellphone screens, the sign announcing this week's sale, or in the pavement.
Amazing sunsets and flocks of birds dancing near sunset make a beautiful set, with almost no one interested.
I examine the observation space of the average person on the street. What are his/her perspectives and what is
the common field of vision of passers-by in the area. I find most of them do not look up beyond eye level.
I want to increase the space of observation upwards. A figure (a bust) slightly larger than a human size,
looking down with a smile, will meet the eyes of those who look up, thus gaining breathing space for a gaze
that is mostly blocked by shops' signs, signposts, buildings, screens and consumer goods.
Photos: Shai Halevi
Aya in the 4th fountain, 2016, Cement, glass, tube, wood, pump, water, H100xW28xD26 cm, in collaboration with Jonathan Emanuel Alon
Aya in the 4th fountain, 2nd phase with scaffolding, 2018, , Cement, glass, iron rods, gold leaf, tube, wood, pump, water, H100xW28xD26 cm
in collaboration with Shavit Yaron
Aya Overturned, 3rd phase attached to the ceiling, 2019, polyurethane foam, carton, plastic wrap, digital print, led lighting / mixed media, H100xW28xD26 cm
The Madonna of the Toilets, 2017
cement, gold leaf, iron wire, 53x21x18 cm
The Schneller Order, 2019
Three days of site-specific artworks in the historical site of The Schneller Compound
Exhibition photos: Shai Halevi
Artists group: Itai Ron-Gilboa, Michal Harada, Meydad Eliyahu, Noa Arad Yairi, Nomi Bruckmann, Kobi Vogman
Artistic director: Meydad Eliyahu Production: Idan Avidani
Retrospect 2019, unfired clay, cloth, rope, ~170 cm height
Upon visiting the central space at the Schneller Compound, I thought a human-sized statue would be at a correct scale to the space and stand out clearly but not inordinate. The history of the place shows a story that is almost typical of human history, especially of the Jewish people until the establishment of the State of Israel; and then, as a result - to the Palestinian people.
Lot's wife is the figure I see as the "mother" of all refugees, the woman who is forced to leave her home as a result of a catastrophe that is happening, while at the same time witnessing it. She looks back despite the imperative not to do so, thus witnessing the events and being silenced.
This story seems to me to be the epitome of the happenings that the Schneller compound is their litmus paper.
What happened in this compound is a testament to the events that have happened in the world and their result.
I chose not to sculpt an entire figure, but to give only its "essence" - the turning back for one last glance. I leave the rest of the sculpture with a raw, very crude-material state that connects, on the one hand, with the state of building that crumbles back into being a material, and on the other, it adapts itself, as does the clay, to the population that inhabits it in its various incarnations.
Mother Mold 2019, sand, plaster, 35x12x5 cm (each soldier)
Over the years, the Schneller compound has inhabited several different populations, but there is a connecting thread between them: orphans, British soldiers and then the Israeli army - all are people who have been placed under a particular regime, which a certain hierarchy has tried to cast into a uniform, easy-to-control format. It is no coincidence that pictures and stories speak of lining up the orphans. People standing in ranks are one of the permanent features of an army.
The decision to make a soldier's mold and create ranks of sand-soldiers was due to the desire to echo the "spirits" of the people who lived in the compound. The sand-soldiers, all cast from the same mold, positioned on the floor, crisp and unstable. With a slight kick, one can accidentally destroy a sand-soldier, but the line still remains. The individual that is cast in the reign's mold is just a grain of sand in the general essence, and has no importance as an individual.
Absent 2019, furniture, cloth
The combination of a space being both magnificent and deserted, in which many people lived through at different times, some left, others deported, along with the pictures of Johann Ludwig Schneller (1820–1896) and the German nurses, brought to mind the image of furniture covered with white cloth. The covering means preservation and at the same time hints to the hope of returning or continuing life in a place. A temporary departure. With this image I want to refer to the European tradition from another era and to the continuity of a variety of lives in the place.
The furniture are covered, people leave and others take their place.
We do not see the material and color of which the furniture are made of but we perceive a shape that defines their use and perhaps some additional quite general characterization. They are worn-covered with a uniform fabric that disrupts cultural identification.
Infiltration (Beyond the 100 meter radius), 2020
A performance created for the artistic one night happening Heara* 13 of the Sala-Manca Group during the Covid 19 closure, April 2020
Unfired clay, aluminum tea cart, ~40 cm height