Jerusalem art Exhibit: The center of the edge

Jerusalem, Surface Fractures opens tomorrow at the Jerusalem Artists House (Beit Ha'omanim).

Jerusalem, Surface Fractures opens tomorrow at the Jerusalem Artists House (Beit Ha'omanim). The techniques that are used range from photography and video, to sound, and back to painting. There will also be installation art which is defined as a piece made specifically for an exhibition. Most of the artists hail from Jerusalem and their residency is one of the highlighted themes of the presented works. More specifically, the focus is on why they choose to live in Jerusalem versus another city where they may fare better in their careers in art. The second theme is on the city itself and how it affects its contemporary artists. In the exhibition's catalog, curator Zvi Tolkovsky (together with Israel Hadany and Hedva Shemesh) writes about the concept of Jerusalem as simultaneously infinite and banal. For the artists who call Jerusalem home, the tension between these forces is a daily struggle. It is not only the awareness of Jerusalem's proximity to other cities near and far but the duality of Jerusalem itself that influences their works. Tolkovsky believes that what is crucial and current for generations of Jerusalemite artists has never been so clearly presented as in this exhibition. When asked what he would want to see in the city, Tolkovsky responded, "We need a generation or two, that will rebuild the scene in Jerusalem as it was in the sixties and seventies. Not only in regards to morale, but also in creating places, like cafes and pubs - somewhere where one can casually meet their colleagues, without having to arrange it in advance by phone." "In the past," he reminisces, "we used to sit at [café] Pa'amon, but now it's gone. We need a gallery with an international spirit. It should attract people from Tel Aviv, too. It should be a place that would answer the question, 'What does Jerusalem have to offer me?'" Despite Tolkovsky's optimism, he is aware of the existing problems. "Here, romanticism is not enough. Art is also finance, and the economic aspect needs to be incorporated. Currently, the art in Jerusalem is made underground, in hiding places - under Teddy Stadium, for example." But Tolkovsky continues to live and create in Jerusalem. He adds, "I've been here since the fifties, when I came to study at Bezalel. I don't think I could live and work anywhere else." The exhibit opens Dec. 20, at noon and runs through Feb. 7, 2009 at 2 p.m. For more information visit (12 Shmuel Hanagid St., (02) 625-3653).