2nd Jerusalem Biennale
September 24 – November 5, 2015
Director: Ram Ozeri
The 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art will showcase the work of nearly 200 Israeli and international professional artists in 10 exhibitions hosted in seven city-center venues.
The Jerusalem Biennale is dedicated to exploring the places in which Contemporary Art and the Jewish World of Content meet. It is a stage for professional artists, who create today and refer in their work to Jewish thought, spirit, tradition or experience, to exhibit their work in Jerusalem.
Biennale2015 will take place at different venues around the city center of Jerusalem: the Tower of David Museum, Van Leer’s Polonky Research Institution, the North Africa Jewish Heritage Center, Hechal Shlomo Museum, Achim Hasid Center on Emek Rephai’m Street, the First Train Station of Jerusalem and more.
Following the success of the inaugural Jerusalem Biennale in 2013, Biennale2015 will continue to explore the places where contemporary art meets the Jewish world of content. Curators and artists with different approaches, who span the continuum of Jewish identity from secular to ultra-Orthodox and include non-Jewish artists, all come together within the Biennale framework to give their own interpretation of contemporary Jewish art.
Six exhibitions are from Jerusalem-based groups and/or curators, including well-known Israeli artists such as, among others, Sigalit Landau, Motti Mizrahi, Dov Abramson, Maya Zack and Ynin Shillo exhibiting alongside Israeli-Anglo artists such as Andi Arnovitz, Ken Goldman and Ruth Schreiber. There is also a special tribute exhibition by Bezalel artists in memory of the late Zelig Segal. Biennale2015 will host the inaugural exhibition of a nine-year project, Women of the Book and the inaugural installation and performance Present=Presence by American-Israeli artist Alana Ruben-Free in collaboration with Israeli artist David Gerstein (see exhibition list in separate document).
Four exhibitions showcase the work of Jewish and non-Jewish artists from New York (Jewish Art Salon members such as Siona Benjamin and Tobi Kahn), Los Angeles (the Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California), Buenos Aires (22 Jewish and non-Jewish artists) and Barcelona (five Catalan artists from the Mozaika group).
Jerusalem Biennale Founder Rami Ozeri: “The Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art provides a stage for professional artists who refer in their artwork to Jewish thought, spirit, tradition or experience. The first Jerusalem Biennale in 2013 created an exciting buzz in the contemporary Jewish art world and, as a result, we were inundated with submissions of the highest quality from Israel and around the world. The Jerusalem Biennale 2015 will further expand the debate on what is contemporary Jewish art and we are thrilled that, once again, this is taking place in Jerusalem, the spiritual and creative center of the Jewish world”.
- Tower of David Museum
The main exhibition of Biennale2015, JERUSALEM.PASSAGES, consists of five large scale projects by five leading artists. The projects, chosen by the Advisory Committee of Biennale2015, will be presented in the Tower of David Museum. Participating Artists: Sigalit Landau, Motti Mizrachi, Dov Abramson and Ynin Shillo (Israel). Pablo Lobato (Brazil)
Sigalit Landau – Salt-Crystal Bridal Gown
In this eight photograph series, Israeli video artist Sigalit Landau tracks the gradual change of a black dress, immersed in the Dead Sea, as it slowly becomes encrusted with salt crystals. The dress is a copy of the iconic dress worn by Lea, the main character in “Hadibbuk”, played for more than four decades by legendary Israeli actress Chana Rubina.
Motti Mizrahi – Engagement
In this installation, Israeli artist Motti Mizrahi has created a 5 meter-high white dress that will hover four feet above ground, with several of the artist’s statues installed around it. On the last day of the Biennale, the dress will be set free to drift upwards into the sky over the Old City of Jerusalem.
Ynin Shillo- Longing
In these seven video art works and one site-specific sound installation, Israeli-Dutch artist Ynin Shillo explores changing seasons and the changes of light in the Mount of Olives Cemetery. By returning to the same frames time and again, Shillo captures the mountain’s human events, as actors entering the stage; the Hasidic consciousness of God is so strong, that they look as actors who feel that they are being watched.
Dov Abramson – Kav 70
Kav 70 (“Line 70”) divides Jerusalem into 70 equal-sized cells, and explores linear forms and space in each of those cells, comprising a new and conceptual map of the city. Jewish tradition holds that Jerusalem has seventy names – all can be found in the words of ancient Jewish scripture and in the majestic teachings of the prophets. An unconventional journey through Jerusalem that walks the lines that connect – and divide.
Pablo Lobato – PASS
Brazilian video artist Pablo Lobato has created a site-specific installation that challenges our visual and audio senses to reflect on Jerusalem’s multi-faceted complexities. The installation relates to a visit Lobato and his soundman made to the city during Passover and Easter 2015, giving an external point of view about Jerusalem during the intensity of Holy Week.
Tree of Creation: I am a Tree of Life
From Barcelona to Jerusalem: Featuring a multidisciplinary collaboration of five Catalan artists of the Mozaika group, the exhibition explores the ways to liberate Jewish art, literature, music, religion and philosophy from history and to enable new connections and synergies to take shape.
- Van Leer Research Institute’s Polonsky Building
New York, New Work: Contemporary Jewish Art from NYC
This exhibition features works by members of the Jewish Art Salon, a New York-based community of artists and scholars who are slowly transforming their New York Diaspora with a steady infusion of Jewish identity in artwork.-Participating artists include Archie Rand, Helen Aylon, Siona Benjamin, Richard McBee, Tobi Kahn, Eli Valley, Joel Silverstein, Ellen Holzblatt and Robert Kirschbaum. Curators: David Sperber and Dvora Liss.
It Has Always Been the Book
The exhibition It Has Always Been The Book includes the works of 22 Jewish and non-Jewish Argentinean artists, referring to the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. The main medium of the exhibition is artists books, accompanied by related video art. The exhibition circles around the transition from books to digital media, from paper to screen and from ink and paint to pixels.
Participants: Grupo Escombros, Teresa Volco, León Ferrari, Delia Cancela, Eduardo Antonio Vigo, Mercedes Estéves, Mónica Goldstein, Teresa Puppo, Leandro Katz, Maiaugusta Vintimilla, Matilde Marín, Susi Sielsky Cantarino, Margarita Paksa, Juan Carlos Romero and Carlos Espartaco. The curator, Pellusa Borthwick, will arrive in Israel with four of the artists on September 19.
- The First Station
Women of the Book: Jewish Women Recording, Reflecting, Revisioning
Social Practice Artist and Torah scribe, Shoshana Gugenheim introduces the inaugural exhibition Women of the Book: Jewish Women Recording, Reflecting, Revisioning. This nine-year collaboration presents contemporary visual commentary on the core text of the Jewish people, the Torah (The Five Books of Moses). The 54 participating women artists represent 5 continents and span the continuum of Jewish identity, from secular to ultra-Orthodox, while voicing diverse cultural inheritance. Women of the Book allows the dynamic creativity of visual midrash by Jewish women artists around the world to fill in the blank of ‘How do women interpret the core story of the Jewish people?’ Participating artists include: Audrey Flack, Ruth Weisberg, Andi Arnovitz, Judith Margolis, Siona Benjamin and Nehama Golan. Curators: Ronit Steinberg and Shoshana Gugenheim
- Achim Hasid Complex
7,767 mi® is an exhibition that explores the physical, spiritual and cultural ties that bind Jerusalem and Los Angeles by the members of the LA-based Jewish Artists Initiative (JAI). The Biennale2015 creates a unique lens through which to explore the ways our modern Jewish experiences are both similar and different, even though the two cities are separated by 7,567 miles. Participating artists include Ruth Weisberg, Joshua Abarbanel, Melinda Altschuler, Bill Aron, Pat Berger, Jean Edelstein, Susan Gesundheit, Gilah Hirsch, Stas Orlovski and Doni Silver Simons. Curators: Georgia Freedman-Harvey and Anne Hromadka.
A Fine Line
A group exhibition entitled A Fine Line with works by Israeli-American artists Andi Arnovitz, Lilach Schrag, Ken Goldman, Ruth Kestenbaum Ben Dov and, Ruth Schreiber exploring the fragile paradigm of those things which define and separate–the sacred from the profane, friend from foe, the public from the private, the real from the imagined. Curator: Susan Nashman Fraiman
A Sense of Space, A Sense of Place
A group exhibition using works in a variety of media, notably ceramics, that brings together artists whose work spans the spectrum of questioning what it means to be a conscience being in this place, in their space. Our daily lives can encompass both the mundane experiences such as eating or crossing the street, to the complexity of our cyber communication. With works by Elisabeth Applebaum, Hadassah Berry, Heddy Abramowitz and the Sisters Serebrin. Curator: Mallory Serebrin
- Hechal Shlomo Museum
Ima Iyla’a: The Art of Motherhood
“How does the Kabbalistic concept of Mother (Ima Iyla’a) find expression in our world through human wisdom, empathy, and nurturing?” This and other existential questions are posed in a multi-disciplinary exhibit on motherhood by internationally acclaimed artists such as Joan Roth, Maya Zack, Joy Rose, David Gerstein, and others, leading to new interpretations of the real and the ideal of the maternal in the postmodern age of Jewish Art. On September 30th, American-Israeli theater artist Alana Ruben Free, in a collaboration with Israeli artist David Gerstein who created the sculptural set, will premiere Presence=Present’, and then invite her audience to participate in this immersive performance art experience. The exhibit aims to enliven the conversation on art and motherhood as well as point to the yearning, pain, loss and inner connection that mark all mother-child relationships. Curator Nurit Sirkis Bank.
- Skirball Museum at the Hebrew Union College
A contemporary visual interpretation of the obscure phenomena associated with the windows in the Temple built by King Solomon, [Kings I 6:4: “And he made for the house transparent-opaque\sealed windows”. Transparent and opaque are two opposites existing in one object and, similar to the commentators that tried to find meaning in the phrase, so the artists seek their personal
interpretation of the opaque/transparent phenomenon. The exhibition includes the works of 15 artists, including Aldana Kac, Chana Cromer, Debbie Kampel, Elisa Pritzker, Esther Schneider, Hiyuli Lieberman, Carolina Bonfils, Lucas Jalowsky, Martina Grounauer, Moishe Kampin, Nachama Golan, Nir Artzi, Noa Sauer, Pesi Komar, Yifat Steinmetz Hirst. Curator Avital Naor-Vexler.
- The Worldwide North Africa Jewish Heritage Center
30 artists, most of them teachers of the Bezalel School of Art Design Department and including Sari Srulovitch, Israel Dahan and Hani Laronne, challenge the borders between Contemporary Art and Judaica. Amulets and wedding rings, cactus-shaped Shabbat candlesticks, a Hanukkah lamp in the Altneuland style and more- all celebrate Jewish ideas in a contemporary context. The exhibition includes a special tribute exhibition in memory of Zelig Segal, a contemporary Jewish art pioneer who passed away this year. Curators: Ido Noy & Shirat-Miriam Shamir.
Each venue will have its own opening event. Details and times to follow:
- September 24: Van Leer Institute
- September 25: Tower of David Museum
- September 26: Achim Hasid center
- September 27: North Africa Jewish Heritage Center
- September 28: Hebrew Union College
- September 29: First Station
- September 30: Hechal Shlomo
Updated information will be available at http://jerusalembiennale.org/
Image: Courtesy Jerusalem Biennale.