Art about town

The exhibitions that opened during Manofim, the city’s contemporary arts and culture festival, can still be viewed.

A photograph taken on Hanevi’im Street by Avi and Mika Milgrom as part of the Blackbox Exhibition. (photo credit: SARAH LEVI)
A photograph taken on Hanevi’im Street by Avi and Mika Milgrom as part of the Blackbox Exhibition.
(photo credit: SARAH LEVI)
When it comes to arts and culture, Jerusalem is almost always overshadowed by Tel Aviv. This past week, however, the capital had the opportunity to shine a light on its local creative community as it hosted its own contemporary arts and culture festival, “Manofim.”
The festival, which is in its seventh year, ran throughout the capital at the end of October, kicking off the city’s next season of arts and culture. Visitors checked out a variety of art exhibitions, performances, events and other activities scattered across the city.
The main intention of the festival was to make the artworks accessible to Jerusalem residents. Regardless of one’s location in the city, there was likely to be an event or exhibition relatively close by.
In addition, many lesser-known galleries and artist spaces outside the city center used Manofim as an opportunity to open their doors to the public and share their creations.
Created by artists themselves to promote and encourage artistic participation and activity throughout the city, the festival encompassed all of the contemporary art venues in the capital, independent artists’ groups, cultural institutions, and artists – both established and up-and-coming – from various disciplines.
Even though Manofim was only a week long, visitors can still view the exhibitions it promoted.
The Jerusalem Artists’ House in the heart of the city has five new exhibitions that will be open to the public until December 13.
Itamar Toussia Cohen’s “The Future Is Not What It Used to Be” features a series of paintings that center on the themes of childhood, nostalgia and personalized images and symbols. Two solo exhibitions are by the two newest members of the Jerusalem Artists Association: photographer Gustavo Sagorsky and painter Maya Israel. The gallery also showcases the winner of the 2014 Osnat Mozes Painting Prize for a Young Artist, Sagie Azoulay, whose paintings carefully balance simplicity of lines and form with a three-dimensional element that derives from the paints he uses. By using the paint as a way to create depth, he gives the viewer a sensory experience not only in the content of his works, but also in the execution.
A highlight of the festival was the work of photographer Eyal Gaziel, featuring selected works from his series “Memories.” Many of these were photographs he staged around the country, recreating personal memories and leading to an ethereal experience for the viewer. He allows the viewer into his world to make their own personal connections with these images.
FURTHER OUT from the center of the city, Hacubia – Place for Art, located in the Valley of the Cross, offers the exhibition “Back to the Future.” Taking a retrospective look at works that artists produced when they were children and young adults, the exhibition invites the viewer to pinpoint the seed of the artistic endeavor and trace that seed to the artists’ contemporary practice. This show will run until December 18.
Meanwhile, at the Photographic Communications Gallery at the downtown Hadassah Academic College, Guy Yitzhaki’s new solo exhibition, “Lexicon,” is an interactive experience in which a series of hidden and not-so-hidden video cameras set up throughout the space record the people who visit. Yitzhaki uses the space as a laboratory for building a visual database by using facial recognition technology and compositing to gather data directly from visitors. This work raises many important questions regarding surveillance, voyeurism and the collection and archiving of data.
Another remnant of the festival is the third annual “Black Box” – a collection of artworks displayed on billboards throughout the city, showcasing contemporary art in the public sphere. The goal is to replace advertising with visual art. Dozens of artists participated in this effort, and anyone who passes by can still feel free to get up close and personal with these works.
Although Manofim is over, there is still a chance to enjoy many of the cultural offerings that Jerusalem has hidden all over the city.