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Niches, Bezalel Graduates Exhibition

For this graduation installation, I chose to exhibit in the corridor of the art department at the Bezalel Academy. There I create 5 niches with plastic and wooden frames, special confine places of contemplation. I had already done previous years two big space installations using wood and plastic sheets,but now this material had gained a new significance as it was used to seal rooms in apartments when the First Gulf War broke out on January 17, 1991. I also wanted to enhance the dialectic between the estrangement of the art academy (or the art world) and the Arab village of Silwan which I could observe but which I never entered.
I wanted to create a ‘total’ artificial environment enhanced by pink neon light in the boring functionality of a corridor that we used to enter our studios on a daily basis as I questioned the dichotomy between the art world and everyday reality. This artificial world had references to art history like the poster of Boticelli’s Birth of Venus and a poster of a painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme, kitsch objects and posters of childhood landscapes, and also a real cactus, a mirror, music and an auto-portrait in a death mask.
In this very early work I was questioning the place of art in its relation to the ‘here and now,’ together with the place of personal biography, questions that later would never stopped to come up in my art.

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Ariane Littman