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White Land, 2001

‘White Land’ 2001, is a diptychs work each composed of 35 censored aerial photographs which forms a quilt-like map of the Holy Land linked through its white missing pieces. In this work are intertwine personal biography (the Grandfather Forbidden Forest), collective myths (the Jewish National Fund), formal aesthetic concerns (the flat abstractedness of aerial landscapes) and the military cartographic production of power.

Extracts from Rona Sela 

White Land or After the “Forbidden Forest” 1967- 2001

Littman-Cohen began to look for aerial photographs of the “Forbidden Forest” both historical photographs of the area and photographs from recent years.

All this led Littman-Cohen to the JNF archives to look for correspondence, photographs, and maps; and to the Panorama – Imaging Technologies archives, there it became clear to her that the “Forbidden Forest” was only one of many “forbidden areas”. The forest had been erased at the orders of the Military Censor, and in its place was left a large white stain.

Driven by this desire Littman-Cohen reached [The] White Land. With determination and obsession she began to build a map of Israel, made up of innumerable “white holes.”

…The artist tries to build a contemporary puzzle of the Holy Land through the aerial photographs. But it is created with the viewer’s awareness of the totality of the “white holes”, the areas that segment the continuity of the map of Israel…

White Land, 2001 is based in the personal and private experiences and desires of Littman-Cohen, but touch on the collective experience and existence.

With White Land (2001) Littman-Cohen’s work becomes outspokenly political. The artist makes use of photographs that map the entire country, where large areas have been erased at the order of the Military Censor. The use of photographs as ready-mades emphasizes the actions of erasure, concealment, and camouflage to reveal information that the establishment has tried to reduce and hide from the public. By the referencing of conceptual actions on the white stains Littman-Cohen upturns the purpose of the authoritie’s concealment. The lacking and disappeared become exposed and concrete, building a new reality for Holy Land, a type of virtual-territorial sieve: Hole’s Land.

 English translation: Timna Seligman

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Ariane Littman