If someone were to ask me my opinion of Tel Aviv in one sentence, I would probably paraphrase the beloved Godfather quote: "I love Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv has been very good to me." However due to the recent extremely humid summer, it may prove quite troublesome to sustain that love. Many artists in Universalis Circus, the Art TLV 2009 main event, depict that same love-hate relationship in their works.
"I was born in Azur, and have only experienced Tel Aviv in the last seven years. For me this city still feels like abroad," says Shay Id Alony, whose work "Sections" appear in the exhibit. "My love-hate relationship with Tel Aviv is apparent in my work. I'm an architect. As such I have many claims to the way things are done in this city. A skyscraper is erected next to a regular house, a mall is built next to a preserved building. The skyline constantly changes."
Art TLV is Tel Aviv's international art biennale, featuring leading contemporary and international artists. The event takes place once every two years and wishes to place the local art scene in the front stage of the international art world alongside biennales in Athens and Istanbul, as part of a Mediterranean art triangle. During the month of September, galleries and studios are open to the public, Jerusalem's Israel Museum goes down to Tel Aviv to hold an exhibition of contemporary artists at the Mani Leumi house and Rabin Square is going to be covered in a carpet of flowers - a gift from Brussels to Tel Aviv on its 100th birthday.
Universalis Circus, takes place in the Nechushtan area, near the beautiful Neve Tsedek neighborhood. A special path was made from the city center to the exhibition, paved with different works, chosen by curator Michael Gdalyovitz. The works at the exhibition itself, chosen by Mayyan Shelef and Edna Moshenzon, are visual representations and different perspectives of this fair city. Alony's work is a sort of installation, made of 14 models of towers, ranging from classic to modern day. All the buildings are cut so their insides are apparent as well, and they are all made of pieces Alony collected. He explains, "The purpose is to erase the old identity of the objects creating the building. It gives different vibes to the different towers. Some of them look mechanic and intimidating, others look pagan, yet others have a certain groveling effect to them."
Alony claims that the point of his work is to draw attention to the skyline, the ever evolving city.
"There is no criticism nor love to it," he says. "It comes from an observation perspective. Take for example the Nechushtan area. It used to be a water pump factory, meant to make water pumps for the surrounding orange groves. That was the vision- to have a green city. But there weren't enough water reserves and the city turned into a commerce area, and became what it is today."
Artist Toony Navok, who is presenting two works in the exhibit, examined the idea of Tel Aviv as a home. "This is my home, but it is also a big city," she says, "I wish to examine that tension, to find the unfamiliar in the familiar."
Novak's two works are combined. The first is made of a common marquee, with a window in its back. The second is a common table, set inside the marquee with different house building components on it. The components are arranged to resemble a city skyline. When the sun hits the marquee window, it creates an atmosphere of sunset on the table."I wanted to create a feeling of fantastic in the banal,"Novak explains. "Tel Aviv is always moving. Although I live here, I always wish that I could still travel in it and get to know new parts of it."
Art TLV takes place between September 9-26 in Tel Aviv.
For more information visit www. arttlv.com