Working Class Heroes 311.
Everyone has dreams and ambitions. A small child may dream of becoming
an elegant prima ballerina, a heroic firefighter or a glamorous movie
start. Yet, our imperfect society doesn’t grant opportunity to everyone.
For some - the poor, the immigrants, the foreign workers, the single
mothers - sacrificing dreams for the sake of economical survival is the
Hidden in a small gallery in the heart of
Tel Aviv, the magical power of superheroes' comes to the rescue of all
those who lost their dreams as a consequence of socio-economical gaps in
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is an allegorical exhibition dedicated to the blue-collar workers: the
street cleaners, the construction workers, the dishwashers - the most
unappreciated types of work in our society – they are the heroes of this
small, but meaningful gallery. Thru photographs and oil paints, two
young Israeli artists - Oren Golan and Yonathan Pasternak - join forces
to empower these workers, transforming them into modern day Superheroes.
The black and white photographs of the workers on canvas are
illuminated by the bright colors of Superheroes costumes that they are
wearing. They are granted supernatural abilities which lets them change
whatever they want. Suddenly, one can see the most unrecognizable types
of work as some magic performance done by a superhero. The “Pop-Art”
style of the exhibition does not leave us depressed, but instead with a
smile, bringing us closer to these people.
Pasternak's inspiration came from John Lennon’s infamous lyrics of "Working Class Heroes
" sung by Marilyn Manson. The song left a different
and far more powerful impression on him than Lennon’s version, the
artist explains. The song, with its textured raw voice, was interpreted
by him into visuals. An avid comic book fan since he was child,
Pasternak believes that “pop-art” or art expressed through familiar cultural symbols
makes it accessible to everyone - which is partly the
point of the show.
Soon after, Pasternak collaborated with another young artist, Oren
Golan. A son of immigrants who moved to Israel after losing all their
belongings in Iraq, Golan has firsthand experience of hard blue-collar
labor. For him, the Greek myth of Sisyphus is an inspiration for this
work. Sisyphus, who was punished by the Gods by endless meaningless and
repetitive work, reflects the lack of choices of our exhibition
The sad part of realization, while looking at these images, is that
today’s hard labor is dead of ideals. If once hard labor was associated
with building new societies, states, communities, today most of it
is purely individualistic. What has happened to the values of the early
pioneers – those who built the country with their bare hands? In today’s
Israel hard labor is attributed as unrecognized work which is done by
poverty stricken individuals who are unfortunate enough to not find
anything better. The opportunities are not equal in our society.
If communist socialists made working class into heroes and models of
social leaders, giving them power they were not educated for, these
heroes of the 2020 exist as heroes in a completely different space of
allegory and fantasy. They are seen as lost elements behind the curtains
of society’s comfort. These heroes had given up their dreams, for the
sake of pure economical survival.
The 10-day art exhibit ran between December 9th and 20th.
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