Musrara honors poets TS Eliot, Zali Gurevitch at Photopoetic Festival

The Jerusalem neighborhood will salute relationship between poetic talent and the visual arts in three different exhibitions.

Zali Gurevitch (photo credit: EYALG/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Zali Gurevitch
The ninth edition of the Musrara Photopoetic Festival in Jerusalem will kick off Thursday with a series of events at the three galleries that host it. The Morrel Derfler Gallery will exhibit a unique choice of theme by focusing on current artistic understandings of the famous 1922 poem The Waste Land by the 1948 Noble prize winner TS Eliot. The poem is a complex one, and is famous for alluding to both Western and Eastern spirituality, including the tarot deck [“With a wicked pack of cards... Is your card, the drowned Phoenician sailor”] and inspiring Ian Banks to write his 1987 novel Consider Phlebas.
Despite the close relationship between TS Eliot and a poet whom many regard as a raving antisemite, Ezra Pound, The Wasteland has been translated three times into Hebrew. Noah Shtern, Menahem Ben and Ester Caspi all offered their own versions of this complex work, which weaves together allusions to Greek, Latin and Hindu cultures to depict modernity.
In the exhibition curated by David Daniel, it will be intriguing to see what visuals the poem inspires today, almost a century after it was published. The exhibition is titled Without Disgrace and Without Praise.  Speaking with The Jerusalem Post, Daniel said that, to him, “the poem is beyond time and is very relevant. On some level, the poem is always taking place.”
He added that the poem had a massive influence on modern English poetry and, in his own view, “is very much related to the reality of Israeli life here.”   
The rich poetic work of California-born poet Zali Gurevitch will stand at the focus of the prints, photographs, videos and paintings presented at the New Gallery in an exhibition curated by Irina Gordon. Gurevitch released in 2017 a collection of essays titled The Hebrew on our Tongue [HaIvrit al Pino] in which he did a remarkable job describing the depth and beauty he finds in the Hebrew language.
In a nod to the Phoenician sailor TS Eliot mentions – the ancient Phoenicians being among the people who contributed much to the creation of written language – he describes the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet as “a letter of breath” and mentions that to the Phoenicians it was depicted “as a man making a declaration.”
The title to the entire exhibition is a quote by Gurevitch: Between Two Syllables There is an Empty Space. Visitors during the opening night will be able to hear the poet read his own poems followed by a performance by Dominik Grace. 
Greek drama made usage of the concept Deus ex Machina, meaning that if the plot became too entangled to resolve in human ways, a deity could appear and solve it all by using supernatural means. The concept had been borrowed by curators Batt-Girl and Yoaav Lipshitz to form Poetics from the Machine to open at the Social Gallery at Canada House [Beit Canada].
The theme here is art on the Israeli web, and how at times, gestures which might not be seen as “high” art can function as such online.
The exhibition includes the work of French-born artist Jennifer Abessira, who starts her social media profile with the statement, “It takes time to become young,” and Berlin-based artist Gabriel Ben Moshe. Those attending the opening night will be able to enjoy an operatic dramatization titled Karatltze 2019. 
Zali Gurevitch will read his poetry on Thursday, December 26, at 7:30 p.m at the New Gallery at 9 HaAyin Chet St. Jerusalem. More information can be found at Admission is free.