First fruits

The Boydem Festival invites acclaimed Israeli artists and performers to present an early work of their choosing.

Sigalit Landau 370 (photo credit: Yotam Frum)
Sigalit Landau 370
(photo credit: Yotam Frum)
Just as the ancient Jews brought a portion of their harvest to the Temple in Jerusalem every Succot, so a group of 20 Israeli artists will bring their early creations for public offering to the Boydem Festival in Tel Aviv on October 2-4.
World renowned Israeli artists from across the visual and performing arts landscape, such as Sigalit Landau (video installation), Adi Nes (photography), Renana Raz (dance) and Gil Shohat (composer, conductor and pianist) were asked to present a first work for the second annual festival.
“We turned to them and said, ‘Choose your first work or a work that symbolizes your beginning, and we’ll present it,” says Sigal Peretz, the director of the dance and theater school Bikurei Haitim Center, which hosts the festival held during Hol Hamoed Succot.
Landau will present her 2004 Bauchaos (“stomach-house” in German), a cement truck transformed into a giant musical instrument on wheels. The vehicle, which is now an ice cream truck, plays music as it travels through small towns and offers ice cream on sticks, meant to remind viewers of the story of “The Little Match Girl.”
Nes will show photographs from his “Boys” series, which he first displayed at his final exhibition as a student at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem in 1992. Film director Eytan Fox (The Bubble, Walk on Water, Yossi & Jagger) will present his neverbefore- broadcast pilot for the 1997 television series Florentine, one of his first productions.
Shohat, along with his ensemble, will perform “Storm,” his first musical creation, which he wrote in 1985 at the age of 12, and “Clarinet Quintet,” a work from 2005.
“It will be an amazing experience,” says Peretz of Shohat’s pre-teen composition.
Poets Agi Mishol, Roni Somek, Tzuria Shelo and Alona Kimhi will read passages from their first books, and dancers Raz, Iris Erez and Ido Tadmor will revisit their first dance solos. Erez will perform his 2007 Temporary, which manifests the passage of time via the paradox of destruction and creation within the body.
“The journey to the Boydem Festival started from personal curiosity and experimentation and to say something about the essence of artistic beginning in general,” says Yehezkel Lazrov, the festival’s curator and artistic director. “But while I was working on the festival, I was convinced again and again by how emotional it was for the artists who participated, newly searching through their private histories, and how invigorating and arousing the thought of recalling was for them and for me.
Each artist has a different connection to his first works.”
Peretz is particularly proud of the contributions her dance students will make to the performances, including dancer Ronit Ziv’s show of her 1999 Rose Does Not Wait. Ziv rehearsed with the students, Peretz says.
“I see the great importance of education and the richness of the cultural conversation because without a past and history, there is no future,” Peretz notes.
“From my perspective as the director of the center that trains stage artists, the uniqueness of this festival is the exposure of young artists at the beginning of their journey to creations of leading artists in their field,” she adds Many successful Israeli artists who today show their work around the world, she says, got their start as students at the center and created their first works there.
Erez, Tadmor and Eren Raz, for instance, danced, created or studied at the center and are returning to show their early works.
The artists’ “internal searching” allowed them to reacquaint themselves with works they haven’t seen in years, reflect on their development as artists and reexamine their past, says Peretz.
The Boydem Festival will be held on October 2-4 between 8-11 p.m. at the Bikurei Haitim Center at 6 Heftman Street in Tel Aviv. (03) 691-9510. Entrance is free.