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Nature Morte, 1992

I first went searching for the mysterious “Grandfather Forest” back in 1991, as I worked on my solo show, Nature Morte, which dealt with the dialectic of nature versus culture. The forest, planted back in 1967 by the family in memory of my grandfather had become a closed military area and over the years this forest had became a riddle for me. The “Forbidden Forest” metamorphosed itself into many “Mobile Forests” originating in the greenhouse created inside the Bograshov gallery in 1992. There for the first time I relocated a replica of the original memorial stone which I had never discovered in the now ‘Forbidden Forest,’ a replica that was to relocate itself over and over again.


“In the Forest at Bograshov”
by: Dr. Gideon Ofrat

In the tension between nature and death Ariane Littman-Cohen fashions the course of her life and the course of our existence, Zionist-particular and general-cultural. We, who all came from the myth of  the  garden,  the Garden of Eden, and end up in the garden of the cemetery, we who sought to renew our days of old as a nation in green gardens of wilderness conquest, garden-cities  and  the  planting  of  forests:  we  are now placed in the artist’s ecologic-sylvan laboratory, there to  observe/be  observed  under the metaphoric: magnifying glass.


In 1992 we no longer need an Arab to torch our forests in the manner of “Facing the Forests.” A.B Yehoshua’s literary metaphor became too real in the burning woods of  the Carmel, and was turned topsy-turvy when olives and vines were uprooted in the “territories.” Many of our forests were planted to commemorate the dead and in others the vacation spots in memory of the fallen are proliferating. Alternatively, fewer and  fewer celebrators of births and other happy occasions revel in plantings. Ariane Littman-Cohen plants her memorial forest and our memorial forest. The ambivalence of that forest lies in the duality of the tree of death and the tree of life, a doubleness that is seen to transcend la vie en rose, of which (that Edith Piaf  chanson) the artist  is also aware in her reasoned endeavour. Have we been invited to a ceremony in which the good forest will turn out to be a bad forest (as in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s dream”) or have we perhaps been summoned to enter the good forest, only to discover ourselves in the role of the wicked wolf? One way or the other, there are  more anti-utopian “hanging gardens” in the modern Babylon. Like the popular Israeli song says:”Its not so nice to see a closed (kinder) garden.” And an entirely private detail: my father planted a eucalyptus in Bograshov square on arbor Day 1932.

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Ariane Littman