This exhibition at the Jerusalem workshop was the end result of a dialog between the artists sharing studios in that space. We gathered to talk about the controversial international art event, Art Focus, taking place in Talpiyot, that same industrial part of Jerusalem where we had our studios. Art Focus was curated by curators from abroad exhibiting artists from abroad or from Tel Aviv but none from Jerusalem. The dialog spread to other part of the city and gain momentum. Eventually we called it ‘Manofim’ and it became then the largest art initiative ever to be held in Jerusalem. The project opened the 2008 art exhibition season in Jerusalem and was held over two weeks in 19 galleries and exhibition spaces all over the city.
We thought at first of showing individual work that would engage with the works of other artists’ work, but in the end this did not really work…
Chinese Whispers – Chain Reaction Curating
Surrealists did it!
To my delight, I’ve been spared the task of writing about art, nor is a pile of images, names and dimensions lying on my desk. Both are due to the fact that the exhibition at the Artists’ Studio is a curatorial experiment.
Where a diverse group of artists is concerned who are not brought together by a specific context connecting their individual ventures, curating a group exhibition is an extremely difficult task. As we considered the options a suggestion was made to curate it organically. The method: just like the childhood game or as the surrealists would have it, a blind chain of sorts.
Names were drawn from a hat. The first artist chosen selected one of his works, the next in line was asked to respond to that with one of his own, the third artist responded to the second’s work and so on. The installation of the works in the space will be carried out in a similar manner.
The outcome may be a clumsy blunder or surprising success, even we’re in the dark. The gamble is a central factor.
Apart from curiosity urging us to unfold the paper and discover the creature we spawned, the process itself had interesting results. Each artist in his or her turn migrated to the studio of the artist preceding him on the list, not guarded by mundane chit-chat and separatism; this time like an explorer searching for the means to communicate with the natives (I apologize for the colonialist metaphor). The way in which this process infuses studio visits with activity is very invigorating to our communication and an achievement in its own right.
Whether the result reflects the unique process or not, it will be the total of encounters and dynamics created, a child of 16 very different parents.
Within the framework of Lift-Off, 16 artists exhibited at the Jerusalem Artists Studios:
Amnon Ben Ami, Ariane Littman, Asaf Ben Zvi, Avi Sabah, Edna Ohana, Eti Abergel, Dan Orimian , Lee He Shulov, Lena Zaidel, Masha Zusman, Maya Muchawsky Parnas, Ronen Siman Tov, Shai Azoulay, Talia Tokatly, Yael Robin,Yael Ruhman, Yulia Rabesky