14 Interpretations: Portrait of a Museum | Opening: 13.4.19
“14 Interpretations: Portrait of a Museum” is presented as part of the series of exhibitions celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod, examining the Museum from within. In contrast to the retrospective character of the preceding exhibition, “Treasures of the Mishkan Museum of Art,” which focused on its Collections, the view of the Museum in the current exhibition is from a contemporary perspective, one seeking to present its concrete relevance and vitality through a varied range of voices.Examining the place of the museum as an artistic, cultural, and social institution that outlines a path, shapes consciousness, and generates an art canon, has for years made museums a source for numerous references by artists. The current exhibition can be placed on the same thematic continuum, since its clear focus is on the Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod. The 14 artists invited to participate selected their own topic, accompanied by a process of study, research, and observation. The “quality of the museum” as determined by each artist, is reflected in each of the exhibits, accompanied by an artist’s statement, divided between display spaces and artist walls. Some of the works were created especially for this exhibition, while others are “restorations” of past exhibits; all depict different gazes at the Mishkan Museum of Art. Among the themes are its history, location, relations with the kibbutz community, figures associated with the Museum, the architecture of its light, its Collections, library, and the “Museum Book” published in 1970.
Dror Ben Ami, following the traces of nature on the other side of the glass. Ben Ami records marks of how the roots of the vine grasp onto the milk glass panes, depicting shadows of branches and foliage, generating the play of light and shadow, making a connection between culture and nature.
The Museum Book published in 1970 (edited by Zusia Efron), is the point of origin for Keren Benbenisty’s two-part installation, Master plan, mother tongue, connecting image to text and to architecture. Benbenisty transforms the book’s 10 languages into cyanotypes, while at the same time she places stones gathered on Kumi Hill – site of the Mishkan Museum – in the center of the space.
Efrat Galnoor comes to the Mishkan from the outside. The Road to Ein Harod #6: Flow chart is the outcome of her ongoing journey of the past two years, inspired by Amos Kenan’s book, The Road to Ein Harod (1984). Her journey became an attempt to acquaint herself with the changing face of Israel’s people and landscapes
Hadar Gad addresses the Museum through a large-scale painting, in an attempt to capture through the act of painting some “quality” beyond the layers of emotions and memories. Her painting Ein Harod depicts the transformation of the southern façade of the Mishkan Museum from a wall of concrete to a “wall of light.”
Yair Barak’s photography installation, Three heads inward, this time from the direction of the Museum’s library. Barak ventured deep into the catacombs, to the volumes, shelves, and archives, where he discovered Atar’s own library and felt that he landed upon a real find. The bindings of the books imprinted with the names of great museums and painters of the world admired by Atar allow us to trace the roots of his vision of the Mishkan Museum.
David Behar Perahia’s video work documenting his Light-space pulsations installed in winter of 2017, the artist addressed the natural light filling the Museum’s spaces, following his scholarly research on the topic. He brought together material sculpture and “sculptures” out of light to create a space where a natural “light show” formed and reformed shapes which changed as viewers moved through the hall
At the center of Harel Luz’s work, in which a field of mallows bloom on the Museum’s wall as an endless tapestry. Luz, third-generation kibbutznik, associates the field plants – mallow, mustard, ragwort, and wild oats – with memories of his kibbutz childhood. Through graffiti techniques he creates a parallel between nature’s act of reproduction with the experience of the individual in kibbutz society.
The Collection and its storerooms are also the subject of Ofri Cnaani’s We, Work, a poetic title referring to her engagement in the tension between society and work. The charged meaning of the terms are also due to the Mishkan’s place at the very center of the two Ein Harods (Ihud and Meuhad), a society whose banner proclaimed both labor and art.
Mali De-Kalo’s video installation, “He looked like a giant” focuses on the Mishkan Museum as an entity implanted in the very heart of the mental and physical communities of Ein Harod. The Museum’s history is narrated through memories preserved in several generations of native kibbutz members, including profiles of Haim Atar and Samuel Bickels, the Judaica Wing,
Margalit Manor offers an additional view of the building’s interior, which she first visited in 1989. Manor turned her camera onto the sources of light high up in the building’s upper windows and ceilings, defining her encounter with the Museum as an experience of contrasts: bright and dark, light and shadow, darkness and illumination: “The space beckoned me to enter, as if it were a promise that could be fulfilled.
Moshe Mirsky, born and member on Ein Harod Ihud where he still lives, reconstructs his exhibit in the Mishkan in 1994 in which he attempted to hold a dialogue with Haim Atar’s oeuvre. Looking back, he discovers that the exhibit embodied tensions between different eras and generations – the tension between fathers and sons. Against the backdrop of Atar’s expressive, emotional paintings, Mirsky’s presents a restrained, vague, and minimalist work
Noga Linchevsky referred to the architecture of the building. Her artist’s book results from “Drawing Time” exhibited at the Mishkan in Autumn 2017. This artist’s book is based on her work journal preceding the exhibition, comprising thoughts, experiments, revelations and discoveries about the architecture of the Pillars Wall and her installation there. It also includes the sketches, preparatory drawings, and photographs that accompanied the creative processes.
Irit Tamari, who decided to create an opening in them to allow the skies to pour into the Museum. She used manipulated photographs to replace the exhibition space with her studio space, substituting the artificial for natural light, and replacing the outside with interior views
Rami Maymon turns to the 1970 book as the source for his exhibition, Him-Self, a title borrowed and changed from Haim Atar’s Self-Portrait, which is included in it. Maymon, most of whose works move between photography, sculpture, and installation, transforms the book’s black and white reproductions into colorful collages, leaving the name of the artist, title, and year, at the bottom of the page. The other part of his exhibit is comprised of sculptures from the Collection which correspond, in their own way, with their collage portraits.