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Israel's biennial: ArtTLV 09 in Tel Aviv

Shelly Federman: 'Aberstein', 2009, detail of video installtion (c) Shelly Federman

Along with Tel Aviv's centennial celebrations, there is Art TLV 09. The first serious attempt to establish an art biennial in Israel.


The organization of the show was not easy: The organizational committee consisting of Israeli art collectors and dealers first hired in 2008 two well-known curators: Zdenka Badovinac and Viktor Misiano. Then, in December 2008, the Israeli army attacked the Gaza strip. As a reaction Badovinac and Misiano decided to continue with their work only if there would not be any official sponsoring by the Israeli government. However, the time was too short to find sufficient private funding. Therefore, a local curatorial team took over. It was lead by Ms. Edna Moshenson, a former Senior Curator at Tel Aviv Museum of Art. I presume ArtTLV 09 by Misiano & Badovinac might have become a more controversial and more International one.


I liked the work by Shelly Federman: She made an installation focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian separation wall. In her video installation, she put smaller models of the separation wall made of Styrofoam and put them on Tel Aviv beach.


Shelly Federman: 'Aberstein', 2009, video installtion (c) Shelly Federman

She told the Premier Art Scene, 'I wanted to make the wall visible. I am trying to show the audience that there is no way to be passive, because when you are passive then you take part in something that is terrible.' The trendy art crowd at the opening used the fake wall slabs as lounge chairs - probably the best thing to do with the real wall too?


  Sue-Mei Tse showed the video 'The Desert Sweepers' of 2003 featuring uniformed street keepers starting and stopping to sweep sand in the dessert. It was originally commissioned by Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean for the Luxembourg Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennial. Still a good piece.   Unfortunately, there were nearly no local Arab artists in the show. Mr. Said Abu Shakra curated a show called 'A Place of Memory'. It featured photographs of prominent Palestinians

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Mounir Fatmi: Skyline, 2007, Installation of VHS tapes (c) Mounir Fatmi

The Moroccan born artist Mounir Fatmi made a nice installation of 1.500 VHS video tapes glued to the wall in the shape of a skyscraper skyline. Maybe a reference to the Bauhaus heritage of Tel Aviv. He showed also his saw blades with Qur'an texts on this year's Volta Basel.


Overall, for me ArtTLV 09 was not a must-see - on the other hand, Tel Aviv is a super-cool city and always worth to visit!


by G. Radwanovsky



ArtTVL 09 was curated by Edna Moshenson, Maayan Sheleff, Michael Kessus Gedlyovich and Said Abu Shakra.


ArtTLV09 runs trough 24 September 2009



Olaf Brezeski: ‘Dream – Sponatanous Combustion’, resin and soot, courtesy Czarna Gallery, Warsaw © photo by Premier Art Scene


Mya, 18-11-09 15:36
In a politically explosive area, such as the Israel, contemporary art also must be politically.

I like the work by Shelly!

Artists also be the people's conscience - just look at the former Eastern block countries (=> Vaclav Havel,...)
Donna, 23-11-09 00:12
Cool piece by Shelly Federman.

I would like to see more of her here in NYC!
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