Concrete jungle

Tal Alperstein and Julia Turbahn’s ‘monumentalise’ shows audiences how to turn themselves into monuments in five easy steps.

January 11, 2017 21:53
3 minute read.
DANCERS TAKE part in Tal Alperstein and Julia Turbahn’s project ‘monumentalise’ in Tel Aviv

DANCERS TAKE part in Tal Alperstein and Julia Turbahn’s project ‘monumentalise’ in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: TAL ALPERSTEIN)


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In the early 20th century, Austrian philosopher Robert Musil wrote, “There is nothing in the world as invisible as monuments. They are no doubt erected to be seen but at the same time they are impregnated with something that repels attention. We cannot say that we did not notice them; one would have to say that they ‘de-notice’ us, they elude our perceptive faculties. Anything that endures over time scarifies its ability to make an impression.”

This statement was an integral inspiration in the conception of Tal Alperstein and Julia Turbahn’s project monumentalise. Tomorrow morning, Alperstein and Turbahn will present the project as part of the Concrete Salon at the Arad Contemporary Art Center. Curated by Hadas Kedar, Concrete Salon II (Salon Beton in Hebrew) will present four creations under the title The Performative Dimension in Contemporary Art: Dream or Nightmare? Alperstein and Turbahn’s monumentalise will be joined by Avner Amit and Keren Ben Altabet’s PELEPE, Dan Alon’s Wrestlemania/Progressing in Life and Omer Kreiger and Hillel Roman’s Voice of the Next State. This event, the second annual Salon Beton, coincides with the opening of the exhibition Arad: From Vision to Delusion: Chapter 1, which features works by Arad-based artists, past and present. This event marks the two-year anniversary of the Arad Contemporary Arts Center.

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Alperstein and Turbahn were brought together in 2015 by the Center for Contemporary Arts’ en/COUNTERs project, which marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel.

“In the meeting, which took place over several months in several sessions, we were encouraged to foster collaborations with other artists. At one point,” explains Alperstein, “we each gave presentations of our work. I was immediately drawn to Julia’s way of thinking and artistic approach and so I spoke with her about working together.”

Alperstein, 31, was born and raised in the north of Israel. She completed her undergraduate degree at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and is currently pursuing a master’s in film at Tel Aviv University. Turbahn, 26, was born in Ramat Gan and raised in Germany. She currently lives in Berlin, where she works as a dancer and interdisciplinary artist.

“We began by talking about how in both our countries, there is this celebration of the past, of remembering. It is almost treated as a sport. We are constantly looking for new ways to remember, to get better at it,” says Alperstein.

This brought the two to the topic of monuments. Over several months, Alperstein and Turbahn traveled through Israel and Berlin, photographing various monuments. They then reconstructed those monuments using dancers as the building blocks.

“We created an act which is an alternative to monuments. It takes these memorial structures and turns them into a physical act. We wanted to understand these shapes through the body. And we also wanted to take these memorials and turn them into something that can be dismantled and rebuilt anywhere you go,” Alperstein says.

The next step in the process of monumentalise was to broaden the scope of participants.

“We made instruction manuals so that anyone could turn themselves into one of the monuments we chose. We have a Facebook page where these instructions are available, so basically, anywhere in the world, people can decide to construct these sculptures.”

Following the premier of monumentalise Alperstein and Turbahn began an auxiliary project, which is currently in development.

“When we worked on the monuments, we noticed that a lot of them are in very touristy places. We started to play with the idea of guided tours in Tel Aviv and Berlin, where we live. It would be a performance that is also guided tour that looks at the city form a different perspective, not at the city’s monuments but as a collection of ephemeral moments.”

For more information about monumentalise, visit For more information about the event, visit

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