middle_a5_enExhibiting artists: Itamar Rose & Yossi Atia, Ronen Eidelman, Rafał Jakubowicz, Damir Nikšić, Michal Rivlin , Wolfram P. Kastner, Tamara Moyzes & Shlomi Yaffe

Curators: Tamara Moyzes, Zuzana Štefková
Openning: 14.9.2011, 20:00
September 14-27, 2011 || Open: Mon and Tue: 10 am – 2 pm || Tue and Wed: 2 pm – 5 pm

The exhibition Middle East Europe brings together works by Israeli and Central European artists reacting to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ideas of statehood and identity. The project tackles the themes of conflict and otherness as well as the possibilities of overcoming the differences. The reactions to these issues include a scale of approaches ranging from a detached deconstruction of the media image to a personal position regarding the identity of the artist.
The exhibition Middle East Europe in Mamuta at the Daniela Passal Art & Media Center is one part of a larger project consisting of a series of exhibitions, second of which will take place in Bethlehem Peace Center in November 2011. Another planned event is a projection of videos onto the separation wall in the Palestinian village Al-Walaaja. Finally modified version of the project will then be shown in the Center for Contemporary Art DOX Prague, Labor Gallery Budapest, Szara Gallery Cieszyn (Poland), and SPACE Gallery in Bratislava (Slovakia).
The exhibition is organized by C2C Circle of Curators and Critics and kindly supported by European Cultural Foundation

About the works:

Damir Nikšić (BiH) “Muslim European Flag” (Installation, 2011), The Political Sacrilegion (2010, Video)
The project Nationality as idea as art of Damir Nikšić concerns the creation of nation and its relation to the manifestation of power. In the texts accompanying his projects he uses language borrowed form the context of human reproduction to stress the parallel between the human procreation and the birth of a nation. Nikšić exemplifies this parallel using words like eugenics, sterilization, castration, and vasectomy to imply the physical impact on the collective living body of a community of Muslims living in Europe today.

Rafał Jakubowicz (PL) 1948 T-shirt (2011, Installation)
The project is inspired by the original t-shirt from Palestinian Nakhba demonstrations and comprises of two sets (“stacks”) of specially produced black t-shirts. There are two “aisles” of standard shop racks. On one rack – the original Nakhba t-shirts, on the other – the same t-shirts with reversed colours of the lettering (1948: 194-red and 8-white). The visitors are turned into shop clients and can make their choice between the two. 1948 – from the point of view of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs it could be the beginning of the national tragedy while from the point of view of Israeli Jews it could be the end of their national tragedy.

Itamar Rose & Yossi Atia (IL) “The Jewish Arab State, Video” (Video)
Yossi and Itamar head to the Palestinian town of Taybeh, to ask its citizens about a future Arab-
Jewish State. As a new unified citizenry, the identity of the “other” must be re-established with new scapegoats and enemies, those that everyone can hate together.

Shlomi Yaffe (IL) and Tamara Moyzes (CZ) “Redemption of Zion (Video and Installation, 2011)
The project deals with the imaginary integration of Israel into the European Union. This provocative plan is introduced as a possible resolution to the conflict in the Middle East and Israel, confronts the hopes, fears, ideals, and indifference of citizens of both countries. The survey on the possible integration of Israel into Europe embodies a number of levels; it shows various mystifying documents that verify the Israeli-European contract, the foundation of the Euro with an Israeli motive, or artifacts such as the EU Israeli passport, as well as surveys and performative readings of the project‘s manifest. The authors of this particular plan for peace in the Middle East suggest that for decades Israel considers itself to be an inseparable part of European culture. It thus comes as no surprise that many representatives of the Israeli state would like to affirm their pertinence with Europe also politically. On the other hand, as those who defend ethnical homogeneity of the Jewish state point out, Israeli membership in European Union would enable the return of Palestinians living in Europe to Israel. The survey shows the fear of the downfall of the Jewish state.

Ronen Eidelman (IL) “Medinat Weimar” (Installation, Ongoing project)
Eidelman is challenging boundaries – national, political and artistic – with his project to create a Jewish state in the former East Germany. By this gesture he raises questions about national identity, anti-Semitism and the complex relationship involving Germany, Jews and Israel. With banners, flags and a mini-constitution, Eidelman is “looking for provocation as a tool to talk about truths and taboos that otherwise would not be touched: anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel.”

Wolfram P. Kastner “Do Not Die – Come To Germany ” (An Invitation, 2011)
Kurt Tucholsky wrote: “All soldiers are murderers.” But we close our eyes and do not see the effects of wars. German and European history is the root of the conflict in the so-called Middle East. There is a strong German and European responsibility for the past and the future. Finally in 2011, the German government accepted this and invites all the children and young Israeli and Palestinian people to come to Germany. They will get a residence permit until there is a genuine peace realized in their home countries.

Michal Rivlin  “Checkpoint” (Performance at the opening, 2011)
A modest religious woman, dressed in a mixture of Jewish and Arabic style clothes is present during the opening. She moves from the toilet to the bar and the gate. Using strategies of language and gestures, she instructs visitors to choose their gender (toilet), to drink to the revolution (bar), and inspects whether they took anything from the exhibition (gate). A modest woman, as a figure of otherness in a contemporary art gallery, and a common silent member for both Arab and Israeli cultures, creates zones of reconsideration of everyday’s rituals-checkpoints that serve as individual doors to the urgent political changes.