No vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end
Ella Littwitz & Amir Yatziv
04.11.2014 – 08.11.2014
Fresh Paint Art Fair 7
The New Municipal Sports Arena At the Drive-In, Tel Aviv
The Promising Artist Award of 2013 was shared by the couple Ella Littwitz and Amir Yatziv, which were chosen by a committee of art professionals that included:
Igal Ahouvi, Nahum Tevet (Artist, Tel Aviv), Yona Fischer (Curator, Tel Aviv), Tami Gilat (Director, Igal Ahouvi Art Collection), Sarit Shapira (Curator, Igal Ahouvi Art Collection)
Many Israelis consider Israel to be closer in spirit to Europe and to the USA rather than the Middle East. This is due to the Jewish settlers who came here and changed the local landscape drastically – wilderness was disseminated, forests were planted, rivers were diverted, hills were built – all of this, in order to connect the land to its Jewish heritage. While aspiring to shape nature according to the needs of the settlers, a reverse process of connecting to the ‘local’ began taking place. Many restaurants in Tel Aviv, for instance, offer their diners local Israeli cuisine, deserting all European affiliation and bringing it closer to the Mediterranean kitchen in general and to the Palestinian kitchen in particular.
The award for the most promising artist that the couple Amir Yatziv and Ella Littwitz share, offers an incisive outlook on this double process. From their current residence in Berlin and the broad perspective they share in regards to their homeland, both artists engage in the present day through the layers and historical events that shaped it. Littwitz and Yatziv re-examine Israel’s national narrative and, the way it was told by the founders in particular.
Yatziv and Littwitz are both artists who base their work on research, on burrowing through archives, revealing untold stories, disputing narratives and finding new contexts and connections. The ‘local’ in their work undergoes reshaping and revaluation. It is reborn as a form of locality that does not aim to conceal its own past. Similar to the Zionist manipulation of the land, Yatziv and Littwitz artistically manipulate their findings and raise questions regarding the instilment of education and values; the possibility to promote multiple truths and narratives, while criticizing the erasure of Palestinian identity.
Amir Yatziv often uses unconventional photographical methods in his artistic practice. In this exhibition he presents three-dimensional laser scans and photo scans of ruins in Israel. The result of these scans is open for interpretation, just as the ruins were open for the interpretation of the new settlers. Yatziv detaches them from reality, similar to the way subjects of research were detached from reality by the new narratives which were formed around them. The works also mimic the way we perceive reality by means of certain detachment from it.
Ella Littwitz engages in transformations. By using maps, sketches and diagrams of the landscape she found in various archives, she examines the way the generation of the first Jewish settlers re-sculpted the landscape of a young country. The findings of her research solely serve as a base to an artistic preoccupation, while undergoing various manipulations which redefine the ‘signified/signifier’ relations of the final work with its origin.
Though Littwitz and Yatziv work in different mediums, their gaze is similar. It is an inquisitive gaze, resembling the perspective of a scientist who investigates all details in order to comprehend and formulate an opinion regarding the studied matter. They were both brought up
within a European vision in the Middle East and therefore it is only natural that they create their art from both a romantic and sceptical standpoint. With these works, they invite the viewers to participate in this scepticism and ask themselves: what is the future of this hybridist place in which we live, if we continue to ignore?