Welcome to our Liberators, 1994
Ariella Azoulai’s project Bograshov the Street – Export Surplus within the framework of Art Focus, the first Israeli Bienniale, provided me with my first opportunity to work within a public space.
I decided to welcome the foreign visitors invited to experience ‘contemporary Israeli art’ and so the Bograshov Street became my playing field. Inspired by a trip to Normandy which celebrated it’s 50’s year of liberation by the allies, I chosed, within the specific context of Art Focus, my own liberators: the foreign curators and critics coming to liberate us from our peripheral status within the global art scene.
As the project evolved, it gradually dawned on me that I was dealing with a main street where an individual art is overpowered by the busy street. I became acquainted with the private world of Bograshov Street’s inhabitants as I got to entrances often barred by intercoms, or in front of closed doors. Each encounter was a different, often ambiguous experience, I was faced with the usual eclectic assemblage: old people suspicious toward foreign intruders; students in rented apartments; single people and families.
Whereas most people I came across during my wanderings allowed me to hang the flags and banners on their balconies, they often failed to comprehend the significance of my act and that was fine with me.
In the end result, no matter how many flags and banderols I hang, my individual act became lost in the bustling activity of the street. Nonetheless, the project provided me with the opportunity to be a critical participant in the spectacle Art Focus offered to our foreign visitors.