Security Wall, Photography, Installation, painting, 2004
Gallery 24. Berlin
In this conceptual exhibition the Israeli artist Varda Carmeli treats the subject of the security wall at present being built in the State of Israel. The Israeli Government’s decision to build a defensive barrier arose from an existential need to defend its citizens against terrorist attacks. This project, however, raises dilemmas and criticism based on the delineation of the path of the fence and the suffering it causes the Palestinian population.
In her work Varda Carmeli imparts, from different aspects, her ambivalent feelings vis-à-vis this subject by delving into fragments on the one hand and projecting a global overview on the other. The seemingly esthetic presentation emphasizes this conflict and creates an uneasy ambience of objects that block and separate but nevertheless, on occasion, afford the viewer infinite vistas of the countryside.
The photographs were taken in Abu Dis. Superimposed on them are “ready made” images that have been photographed from the television screen to form an integral part of her wall. The hundredth anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl, the founder of the Jewish state, is the subject of one of the photographs. In contrast to this, a photograph of a combination of television screen shots of a soccer game depicts an Israeli Arab team called “Bnei Sakhnin” (the Hebrew for Sons of Sakhnin) winning this year’s State Cup championship. Other works consist of integrations of scenes taken from old cinematic films in which the results that come to light are a seemingly impossible combination of fact and fantasy. (Processed Photographs, 122 x 163 cm. each).
The installation comprises panels of mirrors bearing photographs of a date palm and an olive tree, both of which are typical of Israel. The viewer, walking along the avenue of mirrors on an artificial grass surface, becomes an active integral component of the local scene reflected in the work of art.
“Ogen Wijd Dicht” (“Eyes Wide Shut”). Computer aided design and “ready made” on paper (80 x 700 cm.). In this work the artist wishes to shatter those prejudices that are rooted in hate and act as a barrier preventing international bodies and private individuals from taking any learned objective consideration into account in their approach to the present political situation in which Israel finds itself.
“Seam Line” – A painting in mixed media with used facsimile paper film. The use of this material represents the visible written form of communication that inundates us with information as well as disinformation. The photographed and blown up fragments of the painting create a surprising alchemy of language and color.
Let us hope that this wall, the essence of pessimism, will force both peoples to find a way of ending their longtime bitter struggle.