The Promise, the Land
Jewish-Israeli Artists in Relation to Politics and Society
Exhibition: 7 March - 27 April 2003

Opening: March 6th, 2003

Israel: a permanent hotspot of military crisis, with which Austria and Germany has a special connection through a shared history.

How are echoes of one's own victim status as a Jewish artist articulated in positions on politics with respect to the Palestinians? How can objections to one-dimensional constructions of identity be formulated without turning a blind eye to one's own respective position in society?
How are criticism, dissidence, resistance, alienation and mental destabilization expressed? Which visual languages are appended or opposed to mass media depictions?

This exhibition represents an attempt to counter the latent encroachment of anti-Semitic undertones in the criticism of the current politics of the state of Israel, which can be observed in European debates, with a differentiation. An information display conveying political and economic facts, a film program and a symposium complete the project.


Tal Adler (Tel Aviv), Oreet Ashery (London), Yael Bartana (Amsterdam), Daniel Bauer (Tel Aviv), Zvi Efrat (Tel Aviv), Tirtza Even (New York City), Meir Gal (New York City), Horit Herman Peled (Tel Aviv), Dana Levy with Marc Lafia and Didi Fire (Tel Aviv), Avi Mograbi (Tel Aviv), Adi Nes (Tel Aviv), Yigal Nizri (Tel Aviv), Maria Pomiansky (Tel Aviv), Guy Raz (Tel Aviv), Roee Rosen (Israel), Eran Schaerf (Berlin), Khen Shish (Tel Aviv).

With his project "Pettek", borne by an art collective that presents itself as a political party, Adler comments on public discourse in Israel that is dominated by the military. "Pettek" demands the right for artists to have a voice in public affairs and emphasizes the significance of art in the development of an open society.

      Born 1969, Jerusalem, Israel.

      Solo exhibitions:
      2001 Gallery Annet Gelink, Amsterdam
      1999.Wizo Canada Haifa, photography department gallery.
      1994 "Nidbach" project, the Jerusalem artists house.

      Group exhibitions:
      2003 "Critic is not enough", Zürich, Switzerland
      2002 "Frieden welt wärts", Schlaining, Austria
      2002 "Big Torino" Biennial for young art, Torino, Italy
      2001 "Arte Al Centro 2001", Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto", Biella, Italy

"Marcus Fisher" is Ashery's alter-ego: an orthodox, homosexual Jew. Her role play in performances and staged photography derives from the discomfort and lack of understanding between orthodox and secular Jews, one of the major lines of division in Israeli society. While referring to the historical construction of the male Jewish body as (Hasidic) victim vs. the (Zionistic) warrior, she assails the taboos of homosexuality and transvestitism that are still in effect for orthodox Jews.

      Born in Jerusalem, 1966
      Lives and works in London

      Solo Exhibitions:
      2003 Say Cheese photographs, Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool
      2002 Seven Acts of Love, Still & Bruch Gallery, Berlin
      Seven Acts of Love, Kapelica Gallery, Ljublijana, Slovenia
      Seven Acts of Love, Foxy Productions, Brooklyn, NY

      Selected Group Exhibitions
      2002 Private Views, London Print Studios, London (curated by Paul O'Neill)
      Over Dressed, Launch Gallery, London
      Like Gold Dust, Angle Row Gallery, Nottingham (curated by Yasmin Zahir)
      2001 Jews, Blacks, Gypsies and Other Free Radicals, Notting Hill Arts Club, London
      2000 John, I'm Only Dancing, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh

Bartana's theme is militarization as part of Israel's national self-understanding. In the video projection "Trembling Time", she deals with the moment of collective remembrance on the Day of the Fallen Soldier, which brings all of Israel to a standstill. "Disembodying the National Army Tune" is an ironic object from the army's repertoire of forms (flagpole loudspeaker), whose sound intones the heroic military anthem as an awkward vocal rendition, as every Israeli is necessarily capable of reproducing it due to military service.

      Born 1970, Israel. Lives and works in The Netherlands and Israel

      Solo exhibition:
      2002 Beelden aan zee museum, 'Trembling Time, Scheveningen, NL
      2002 Digital Art Lab, 'Variables X Y Z', Holon, ISL

      Selected group exhibitions:
      2002 Brugge Culture Capital of Europe, 'What? A tale in free images', Brugge , BE.
      2002 Galerie Hohenlohe & Kalb, 'say hello wave goodbye', Vienna, AU.
      2002 Manifesta 4, European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Frankfurt am Main, DE.


"Occupied Territories" is a navigable video animation, for which picture material from a Palestinian village was used. Inhabitants are made to appear with a mouse click in the empty lanes and buildings and quickly vanish again: a reflection on visibility, on the concept of representation in both a visual and a political sense.

      Lives and works in New York.

      Selcted projects
      2003      Pacific Film Archive, SF
                  AIM IV, California
      2002     Whitney Biennial, NY
                  Santa Monica Museum, LA
                  The New York Video Festival, Lincoln Center, NY
                  The Armory Show, NY
                  Art Pace, San Antonio
                  The Sixth International Video Festival Videomedeja, Yugoslavia
                  Cantor Film Center, NY
                  Carnegie Art Center, Buffalo, NY
      2001     Postmasters Gallery, NY
                  Digital Flaherty Seminar, NY
                  Le réel en scène - les écrans documentaires, Paris
                  Ecole Narionale des Beaux Arts de Paris
                  Video Lounge, Millenium Film Workshop, NY
                  New Art Center, Newton, MA
                  Haifa University Gallery, Israel
                  Art in General, NY


In his conceptual photo series, Gal attacks the interlocking of the cultural with the military establishment. "Untitled (Erasing The Major Museums)" show aerial shots of Israeli cities, in which the locations of the major museums are erased as though through military censorship. His argument is that Israel's self-representation as a nation of culture is hypocritical, as long as human rights are abused.

      1956 Born in Israel.
      Since 1997 Adjunct professor, City College of New York.

      Solo Exhibition:
      2002 - Noga Art Gallery, Tel Aviv.
      1998 - Tel Aviv Museum of Art
      1997 - Saalbau Rhypark, Basel, Switzerland.

      Group Exhibition:
      2002 - PS1, New York
      2000 - Ami Steinitz Fine Arts, Tel Aviv.
      1999 - The Puffin Foundation, NJ.
      1999 - Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.

With the Internet project "Gaza Checkpoint", Horit Herman Peled treats the oppression of Palestinians with an abundance of picture and text material. She concentrates of the example of the proliferating and arbitrary establishment of checkpoints that make the living and working conditions of Palestinians tremendously harder.
Horit Herman-Peled, media artist, resides in Tel Aviv.


Over 50 people from 35 countries currently living in Tel Aviv were invited to sing a song from their homeland for the video camera. The result is a computer-controlled multilingual collage of scraps of songs and reflections on the emotions they transport, on the singers' homelands and their experience with migration. In this way, the work focuses, not least of all, on labor migrants from Black Africa and from the Philippines, whose expulsion because of the economic crisis is currently being vehemently and controversially discussed.
Dand Levi is currently Artist-in-Residence at The O.K

      born Tel Aviv 1973

      1997-1998 Post Graduate Diploma- Electronic Imaging-Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art-Dundee, Scotland
      1994-1997- BA Graphic Design Camberwell College of Art, London
      1992-1994- Foundation Art & Design Camberwell College of Art London

      Currently lives in Tel Aviv developing personal work and teaches video at
      Musrara school of Photography in Jerusalem and works freelance on different
      media related projects.
      Her work has been screened and exhibited at various galleries in Israel and
      around the world including Rosenfeld Gallery,Tel Aviv, the Tel Aviv &
      Jerusalem Cinematech ,Israeli Digital Art Lab,Art in General New York,
      Meditrerra Festival-moving museum, British Short Film Festival and more.

      Marc Lafia lives in New York
      works in computation and the network, and in installation, single
      and multi-channel video and photographic works of different scale. He has
      exhibited films at Rotterdam, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London,
      shown new media works at The Walker Art Center, SF MoMA, ZKM and other
      international museums and festivals.

      Didi Fire, born 1972 in Israel,
      composer and programmer, lives and works in Tel Aviv

Meticulously staged photography, a wealth of details and references. In a tradition similar to Jeff Wall, Nes composes densely charged photographic tableaus: scenes from the life of a soldier and from the everyday life of young (Mizrahim) men, whose bodies show beauty, passivity and vulnerability. In addition to its inscription in the visual cultural history of the west and of Israel, Nes is interested in the subversion of the ideal of male Zionist bodies through references to homosexually connoted images and to the Jews of Arab origins.

      Born 1966, Israel
      Lives and works in Tel Aviv

      Selected solo exhibitions
      2003 "Recent Photographs", Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
      2002 "Adi Nes: Photographs", Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago

      Selected group exhibitions
      2003 "Revelation - Representations of Christ in Photography", Israel Museum, Jerusalem
      1998 "After Rabin: new Art from Israel", The Jewish Museum, New York, Curator: Susan Goodman

The images and objects in Nizri's art installations also refer to the history of Israel and the oppressed part of the Sephardim. Nizri interlocks images from Israeli commercial graphics with objects from Arab-Israeli everyday culture, thus conducting a visual discourse on visibility, representation and the question of collective cultural references in an extremely heterogeneous society.

      1973 Born in Haifa, Israel, lives in New York and Tel Aviv

      Selected Exhibitions
      1999    " * ", The Gallery of The Midrasha school of Art, Beit-Berl, Israel
                  "Ice Cream Van 1999", The Sultan´s Pool: International Project
                  ArtFocus 3, International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Jerusalem
      2000     "Not To Be Looked At", The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
      2001     "World Views" Open Studio at the World Trade Center
                  "SongPoems" Cohen Leslie and Browne Gallery, New York
                  Angstrom Gallery, Dallas. Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles
      2002     "Mother Tongue", The Mishkan Le'Omanut at Ein-harod, Israel
                  "Living Growing", Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv

The artist, who only came to live in Israel a few years ago, investigates the social sub-formation of Russian immigrants. She photographs her Russian friends and acquaintances wearing toy masks of pigs' snouts. In this way, she addresses the (self-chosen) outsider status of Russian Jews in Israel, which is manifested, for example, in the insistence on the consumption of pork with reference to Russian tradition.

      Born 1971 in Moscow. Russia
      moved to Israel 1991

      Exhibitions (selected)
      2001-"Nose" a solo exhibition in the Henrich Boll Foundation gallery, Tel-Aviv
      2002-participation in the First Video Bienale in Israel
      2002-artist residence in Aarau(Switzerland)
      2002 "Art in Krone "a group exhibition in Krone Atelie, Aarau(Switzerland)
      2002 "Artist in"a group exhibition in "Binz39", Zurih,(Switzerland)

photo series "On The Way to Efrat" shows the deformation of the landscape of a militarized and colonialistically operating state. Tunnels and detours brutally fragment the land. The aim is to keep the Jewish and Arab population as far apart as possible - intended as a protective measure for the former, without consideration for the needs of the latter.
With "Lifeguard Towers", taken on deserted beaches in Tel Aviv and Gaza, Raz shows the only border of the state that is not at the disposition of negotiations and wars: the sea, which simultaneously opens up a perspective of desire and hope.
The Way to Efrat, 1997

      1964 born in Israel, lives and works in Tel Aviv
      1990 - 93"Camera Obscura" School of Art, Tel Aviv
      1996 Sivan School of Computers Studies, Tel Aviv
      1997 - 98Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem

Numerous solo and group exhibitions in Israel, Cuba, the Netherlands and other countries.

With "Justine Frank", the artist constructs a Belgian-Jewish, lesbian artist of the first half of the 20th century. Her fictive life and her entire oeuvre of painting (created by Rosen) stand for an outsider position that was doomed to failure between the Holocaust and Zionism. For the exhibition "The Promise, The Land", Rosen sets up a mini-retrospective for Justine Frank.

      1963 Born in Rehovot, Israel.
      Currently teaches art and art history at Ha'Midrasha (Beit Berl College School of Art) and at Bezalel Art Academy, Jerusalem.
      Exhibitions in Israel and New York

The artist, who has lived for twenty years in Germany, creates a central installation of the exhibition. In a site-specifically developed setting, he re-combines earlier works, in which he deals with the history and present of Israel/Palestine. The radio plays, written together with Eva Meyer, "Europa von weitem", "Unmöglichkeiten neu gemischt" and the sound piece "More or Less (You Are My Life)" play an important role in this.

      born 1962 in Tel Aviv, lives and works in Berlin and Brüssel

      Numerous exhibitions and projects in Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Amsterdam, ...
      1998 Eran Schaerf - Scenario Data, Herzliya Museum of Art, Herzliya
      1999 Eran Schaerf - Scenario Data, Kunsthalle Bern; Galerie Zwinger Berlin
      2000 Eran Schaerf - Migrants & Variants", Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden [further information]
      2002 Zwinger Galerie, Berlin/ "Eran Schaerf - some time later", Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin/ Galerie Barbara Gross, Munich

Shish is inspired by North African (popular) culture. For her installation developed on site, the daughter of Tunisian Jews that immigrated to Israel uses material from illustrated magazines, film posters, everyday objects, which she interweaves with her own drawings and photos into a dense texture: into an investigation into the construction of identity that is motivated by feminism and emancipation.

      Khen Shish lives and works in Tel-Aviv.

      Solo exhibitions
      2000 "Close-Up" Bezalel Academy of Art and Design,
      1999 "Arbeiten" - Antea-Gallerie, Jerusalem
      1999 "Halbtagshexe", The Artist House, Jerusalem.

      Group exhibitions
      2002     "Bodycase", RAM Foundation, Rotterdam, Holland
                  "Muttersprache", Kunstgebäude, Museum Ein Harod
                  "Paris-London 1999-2002", Video Art, Museum Herzlia
      1998      Biennale für junge Künstler, Rom, Italien


"Zoom In - Zoom Out"

Reality, Media and Myths in Israeli Video Art.
The video program is an integral part of the exhibition. It was put together by Sergio Edelsztein, director of the Center for Contemporary Art and founder of "VideoZone", the video biennale that took place for the first time in Tel Aviv in 2002. The contributing artists Doron Solomons, Dana Levy, Boaz Arad and many others deal with the particular influence that Israeli mass media, especially television, have on political decisions and the population.


Remapping the Region
March 7 and 8, 2003

In this conference, which includes Israeli and Palestinian participants, not only the current political constellation and ist historical contextualization will the be subject of debate, but also its connection with the sphere of the cultural. In addition, the issue
of "Remapping the Region" appears to be inseparably linked with the mediatization of the Israel/Palestine conflict and the forms of ist representation in visual culture.

The first day of the symposium is devoted to the charged field of such pairs of opposites as identity and difference or representation and blotting out, which have a special significance due to mass movements of migration and flight in the Middle East and the concomitant complex constructions of identity. An attempt is to be undertaken here to make transparent the aesthetic translations of nationalist rhetoric or the construction of vigorous masculinity (in Zionist film, for example), as well as to do justice to the claims of marginalized social groups, such as the Arab (Mizrahi) Jews. In addition, the symposium will probe the emancipatory potential of a "translocal", "diasporic"
understanding of cultural production beyond a reductionist, ethnic determination as "Palestinian" or "Israeli".

The second part of the symposium revolves around political criticism in the narrower sense. In addition to social and historical analyses of the region itself, the public discussion of the situation in Germany and Austria, a particularly sensitive issue due to the guilt of the Holocaust, will also be part of the deliberations. Not least of all, though, up-to-date, concrete options for action and models for thinking are needed for Israel and Palestine. The central motif here is how practicable and just forms of coexistence and dialogue may be found - without "pseudo-solutions" prescribed from the outside and
thus doomed to failure - in light of the desperate situation.

March 7, 2003, 10.30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Unfamiliar Territories - Identity and Representation in Visual Culture

10.30 a.m. - 1.30 p.m.
Aim Deuelle Luski (Israel), photo artist, art critic
Raz Yosef (Israel), film scholar at the University of Tel Aviv
Horit Herman Peled (Israel), net artist

3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Avi Rybnicki (Israel), psychoanalyst
Fareed Armaly (USA/Palästina), artist and curator, most recently artistic director of the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart

5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Discussion
Moderation: Christian Höller /Aeditor and co-publisher of the journal "springerin" , freellance autor and translator

March 8, 2003, 10.30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Under (De-)Construction: Israel/Palestine - Positions and Perspectives of Political Criticism

10.30 a.m. - 1.30 p.m.
Moshe Zuckermann (Israel), Director of the Institut of German History, University of Tel Aviv
Hermann L. Gremliza (D), publisher of "KONKRET Zeitschrift für Politik und Kultur"
Ilan Pappe (Israel), Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University Haifa; President of the Emil Touma Institut for Palestinian and Israeli Studies, Haifa, Israel

3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Issam Nassar (Palästine), Historian at the Al-Quds-University in Jerusalem
Ariella Azoulay (Israel), teacher for visual culture and contemporary philosophy at the Bar Ilan University and the Camera Obscura School of Arts

5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Discussion

Moderation: John Bunzl /A, middle East Expert at the Austrian Institute of International Politics


Press information: Maria Falkinger, O.K Center for Contemporary Art Upper Austria, Dametzstr. 30; A-4020 Linz; +43.732.784178-203;;