Efrat Rubin brings dance into the art gallery

Artist Efrat Rubin wanted to create a dance performance that would give the viewer the feeling of being at an art gallery.

 EFRAT RUBIN’S ‘Hi Can I help You.’ (photo credit: EFRAT MAZOR)
EFRAT RUBIN’S ‘Hi Can I help You.’
(photo credit: EFRAT MAZOR)

Efrat Rubin is not an artist easily categorized. Her works span several media, an ever-expanding circle of expression that Rubin calls upon to realize her visions. Be it with her works in dance, video or painting, Rubin moves easily between artistic spaces, at home in a dance studio, gallery, theater or public arena.

In her upcoming endeavor, a curated weekend, she will apply the sensibility of a gallery visit to a live performance. Re-site, a two-day event at the Arab-Jewish Community Center in Jaffa, invites audience members to view performances free of charge.

“In visual art galleries, the entry is always free,” says Rubin over coffee early in the morning in central Tel Aviv, after having just delivered one of her two children to school nearby. “I wanted to use this model.”

The gallery atmosphere will carry through to the actual performances, Rubin explains. Along with carefully selecting the artists who will participate, Rubin gave a great deal of thought to the location in which each person will present their work.

“If I go to see Adi Boutrous perform One More Thing at the Suzanne Dellal Center, it has a very different feeling than seeing the same work on a basketball court,” she says. “Shira Eviatar will present Evyatar/Said in a library that is a wholly different experience than seeing the very same solo on stage. The idea here was to present dance to a different audience in a different way.”

 ‘MISSING FACES’ by Iris Erez. (credit: Sigal Dahan) ‘MISSING FACES’ by Iris Erez. (credit: Sigal Dahan)

In selecting the works that would be part of Re-site, Rubin had several issues in mind such as technology, tradition and the relationship between Arabs and Jews.

In fact, Rubin’s newest creation, entitled Hi, Can I Help You?, is an examination of the place of technology in our personal lives. It will be shown twice during the weekend.

“During the corona period, I didn’t have personal interactions outside of my house,” she says. “That was really lacking for me. I missed seeing my students. I began to feel as if I was in a movie. No one asked me how I am in that way you ask people who you meet during the day. I developed this internal dialogue, almost like a medical exam for myself. The questions I asked myself became the basis for Hi, Can I Help You?” 

The work is a collaboration with artists Uri Levinson and Iris Mualem.

Another work that focuses on technology in post-corona existence is Missing Faces by Iris Erez.

“There is this absurdity to three performers hiding behind screens, performing with a screen on their face,” explains Rubin. “They swipe pictures on their faces, and it changes the way you see them.”

Other works to be performed are Maayan Liebman Sharon’s Nap in Front of the Sea, which is based on Nap in Front of the Knesset. “The beach in Jaffa is a very charged place,” says Rubin. “I think this work will be incredibly poignant in this location.”

Basma Bader and Yara Shaban will perform a site-specific work that deals with language. In this performance/installation, the two women write out sentences in chalk, interspersing moments of intimate whispering with the audience into their action. “Their piece looks for communication that doesn’t exist,” says Rubin.

She explains that Re-site is a project long in the making.

“We submitted the concept for funding before corona started – now it feels like it was 10 years ago,” she laughs. “We had to postpone the event twice because of corona-related issues. We received support from the National Lottery Organization (Mifal Hapayis). It was hard to decide when to do it because we were worried about having to delay once again.”

Now, having landed on a date that seems likely to occur, Rubin is carefully counting the number of registered audience members (the event is almost completely booked) and gearing up to unveil what is likely to become an annual event. 

Re-site will take place on November 12 and 13 at the Arab-Jewish Community Center in Jaffa. For more information and to register, visit https://www.almamusicpro.com/about-4.