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Invitation to a Voyage, 1993


Exhibited first at the Bograshov Gallery (Third Person) and later at the Tel Aviv museum (The Range of Realism), Invitation to a Voyage became a key work in my Holy Land Project as the work relates to the dialectic of the Holy Land. When first exhibited in the Bograshov Gallery the work was surrounded by pink fluorescent like in the greenhouse (Nature Morte) I had exhibited a few months earlier. The pink fluorescent related to cheap low neon light, a kitsch colour for a kitsch dream of exotic escapes. But on the other hand the boxes with the objects seemed to float as if gravitation had no effect on them. Without great enthusiasm I had to relinquish the neons when invited by Rona Sela to show the work at the Tel Aviv Museum as it coloured in pink all the other works in the show.

Composed of a large poster with on the lower part seven Plexiglas boxes of various dimensions, the work invites the viewer into a voyage both in time and space. In one of the boxes, engraved on a piece of local Hebron marble, Baudelaire’s title to his poem ‘Invitation to a Voyage’ and in another box the sentence: “Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté, luxe, calme et volupté (There, all is loveliness and harmony, Enchantment, pleasure and serenity). The latter ironically points to the loss of illusions regarding the ‘Holy Land’s enchantment. Using Holy Land bottles which I integrate within the work, I erased the word ‘The’ so that these bottles no longer related to the actual conflict-laden Holy Land but in fact to an inaccessible paradise-like island, as depicted on the image of the poster. The display of the seven Plexiglas boxes with fragments of fossils and animal skeletons echoes the Natural Science museum’s taxonomy, relating to an evolutionary linearity. Their juxtaposition with the poster dematerialize the hierarchy between ‘high’ and ‘low’ artifacts while engaging a dialogue with the Old and the New Testament and other mythical archetypes.

Ariane Littman