Stepping into the Tower of David means experiencing a journey back in time. Through the layers of history, the museum brings modern art into its spaces, creating a bridge between past and present. These two renowned artists, who have exhibited at important global institutions for design, were particularly excited to show their unique work showcased in this distinctive museum.
In this exhibition, Ezri and Haim, both former students and design teachers at Bezalel, portray their personal vision of Jerusalem. The artists’ exclusive pieces are placed on parallel platforms, which run the length of the gallery in order to highlight their different visions of the city. One of the similarities between the artists is that they work with found materials. They have both played with various textures, technology and shapes, but have also constructed and deconstructed the material in order to give them alternative significance.
It took Ezri and Haim eight months to create their unique artworks, without influencing each other; they explored the city in a new way, in preparation for their work. Even though they both grew up in the same city, their creative approach was diametrically different.
Ezri Tarazi’s ‘Unique Tables’
Ezri created nine tables based on the shape of the Old City, each one referencing a specific aspect of Jerusalem, using different concepts and materials. He manipulated the most functional object – a table – and transformed it into strong and meaningful stories with various interpretations. In his “Remapping” table, the emphasis is put on Jerusalem’s frequent transformation and socio-cultural aspect. A map of the Old City is projected on the table and when it detects a movement, it moves across according to the motion and then falls back into its original arrangement. In “Maqam Makom,” he combines two traditions: coffee drinking and music making. The cups, combined with a network of copper sensor conductor encased in a board of wood, create traditional Arabic music. When a cup is placed on one of the cavities, it activates the sound of a single instrument. Put together, the cups create numerous combinations of sounds.
Haim Parnas’ ‘Sincere Objects’
Haim’s work demonstrates a link with the city’s material culture: he combines everyday objects with sculptural material that he had collected over the years. Haim divided the display into four different stages: Jerusalem Forest, Grafting, Fragments and Ammunition Hills – each telling a personal story through the various objects. Thanks to this mix of military objects, biblical scenes and even local Jerusalem jokes, Haim portrays the coexistence of beauty and violence, spirituality and militarism, and secular and traditional Judaism. The combination of these different elements put together creates a new language.
In “Ammunition Hill,” Parnas embellishes ammunition cases, giving his personal interpretation of an old method called Trench Art. Widely used since the First World War, it represents the art made by soldiers using remaining military debris, which had been gathered from the battlefields.
In addition to the exhibition, behind the scenes movies show the process of the artists’ creative thinking, providing the viewer with insight into their inspiration and the final result. Yet while Parnas is an individual creator working in his workshop in Jerusalem, Tarazi’s work is the product of different workshops, requiring the expertise of other professionals from various fields.
Both artists created an innovative exhibition with functional and design objects questioning ideas of collective memory and the culture of objects. The juxtaposition between the past and the present, alongside with the nostalgia of the Old City, creates a vibrant vision of Jerusalem.
“Objective”, curated by Eilat Lieber and Smadar Keren, is showing at the Tower of David Museum until December 2015.
By Jessica Moszynski
Jessica, a Belgian art director and graphic designer, is passionate about art and fashion. Every day, she discovers a new secret of Tel Aviv — and can’t wait to tell you about it!