Five Exercises of Resistance - Eretz Israel Museum

Five Exercises of Resistance

“Five Exercises of Resistance” is an annual project, a group exhibition composed of five chapters that will be presented sequentially in the course of the International Season at MUZA – Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv. Each chapter will feature one video work by an international artist.

These exhibited works present different possibilities of resistance – actions that are not only concerned with past injustices, but also with an imagined future, which may one day become a new reality. Some works make use of humor or irony, while others address cultural norms and disrupt them as a form of protest. Additional works revolve around a joint action, or operate through a politics of love.

The observation of the different cultures with which these artists are affiliated, and the different tools for resistance presented in the exhibition, enable us to raise social and political questions pertaining to our local reality, to think in a critical, unprejudiced manner, to free ourselves of the constraints of localism, and to offer new tools for resistance. In this manner, the exhibition points to burning questions at the heart of Israeli reality – borders and walls, gender-related concerns, economic questions, immigration, religion and racism.

Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca

Faz Que Vai / Set to Go

2015

Video, 12 minutes

In Faz Que Vai / Set to Go, artists Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca capture four dancers performing their own version of the Frevo – a typical dance from the area of Recife in north-eastern Brazil. The dance, which is performed wearing a unique outfit and using a tiny colorful umbrella, has been recognized by UNESCO as a form of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The work’s title is borrowed from one of the steps in the dance, which imitates a moment of imbalance. Building on this popular tradition, the artists raise questions concerning contemporary Brazilian culture, race, gender, identity, visibility and self-expression, as they pertain to different sectors of the population.

Marcos Ávila Forero

Atrato

2014

Video, 13:52

Marcos Ávila Forero’s video work unfolds along the Atrato River, one of the arteries of Columbia’s armed conflict. Among the results of the ongoing conflict is the destruction of the local population’s cultural legacy. Ávila Forero worked with a group of young percussionists from local families in order to renew a local musical tradition originating in the Congo in Africa, which includes drumming on the river with the musicians’ hands. Together, they attempted to reconstruct an action that produces musical rhythms heard from a great distance. By means of this joint action, the artist sought not only to allow the local inhabitants to re-appropriate a lost musical tradition, but also to provide it with a contemporary interpretation, using modern rhythms added by the participants.

Kara Walker

National Archives Microfilm Publication M999 Roll 34: Bureau of Refugees Freedmen and Abandoned Lands: Six Miles from Springfield on the Franklin Road, 2009

Video, 13:22 minutes

Sound: Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran

This work was born of artist Kara Walker’s study of archival materials kept in the Bureau of Refugees Freedmen and Abandoned Lands in the United States. This bureau, which was active for less than a decade (1865-1872), was established to support former slaves as they transitioned to a life of freedom. The bureau also documented and preserved reports of violence towards freed slaves. Walker examines these archival materials, as well as racial myths and stereotypes, in order to probe mechanisms of power. She moves the figures – cutout paper silhouettes – in a manner alluding to the manipulation of black bodies throughout the history of slavery in North America, a movement that continues to resonate to this day.

Yoshinori Niwa

Transporting puddle A to puddle B

2004

Video, 10:53 minutes

In Transporting puddle A to puddle B, Japanese artist Yoshinori Niwa uses his mouth to transport a puddle of water from East Berlin to West Berlin, across the spot where the wall separating the two parts of the city once stood. By means of this action, he raises questions about borders and divides, and demonstrates how human beings and political regimes can transform a small geographical distance into a vast mental, social and cultural distance. In 2012, following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the artist repeated this action in another video work, in which he transported a puddle of water from Tokyo to the abandoned Fukushima, using his mouth and a plastic container.

Ulla von Brandenburg

Sweet Feast

2018

Video, 11:25 minutes

The German artist Ulla von Brandenburg reconstructs an event that took place in January 1973, after Britain acceded to the European Community: Whitechapel Gallery in London presented an exhibition of sweets and pastries from the nine countries that were already members in the EC. Prior to the exhibition closing, a group of British children was invited to a “Sweet Feast” served at the exhibition, and were served refreshments prepared especially for them. Yet rather than enjoying these refreshments, they turned to consume the sweets on display, wolfing down the sugary confections and ravaging the exhibition. In the video work Sweet Feast, the artist reconstructs this event, responding in part to Brexit and to the relations among the member states of the European Union.

Ulla von Brandenburg, Sweet Feast, 2018, Courtesy the artist and Art: Concept (Paris); Meyer Riegger (Berlin/Karlsruhe); Pilar Corrias Gallery (London); Produzentengalerie Hamburg