30 going on 60 going on 100

Ein Hod is celebrating a number of milestones these days in the artist colony's 60th year.

The Yemini Garden in Ein Hod 521 (photo credit: Ra'anan Tal)
The Yemini Garden in Ein Hod 521
(photo credit: Ra'anan Tal)
Ein Hod is marking all kinds of anniversaries these days. This year marks the centenary of Bicycle Wheel, the first ready-made work of art; created by Marcel Duchamp, it consists of a bicycle fork with a front wheel mounted upside-down on a wooden stool. Then there are the 60 years that have passed since Ein Hod was established as an artists’ colony, and the village’s Janco Dada Museum, devoted to the works of Marcel Janco and some of his fellow Dadaists, is now 30 years young.
One of the milestone markers now in full swing at the museum is the “Ready-Set-Go” exhibition, which opened last month and runs until the end of September. It incorporates works by over 20 artists, including 74-year-old multidisciplinary creator and Ein Hod resident Avraham Eilat, 45-year-old sculptor Zvika Altman, Galilean artist Jack Jano, 66-yearold local sculptor Dan Hamizer, and members of the architecture- and design-based Tav Group.
The village, meanwhile, is enjoying celebrating its own 60th birthday.
“This is a lovely part of the world,” says longtime Ein Hod resident Rachie Fernoff Wallfish, who made aliya with her family from the United States in 1970.
She is the Janco Dada Museum’s house designer.
“We want to show off the beauty spots to people coming here from all over the country, particularly during the religious holiday season,” she says. “We recently opened the new Yemini Park at the entrance to the village. The new park really opens up the entrance, and has some lovely sculptures and gardens.”
The village has reached out to embrace all and sundry, she says. “As part of the 60th birthday events, we gave out plywood plaques, measuring 60 cm. by 60 cm., to everyone regardless of whether they are members of the Ein Hod cooperative or not, and asked them to create something artistic to display.”
Steps have also been taken to make the place more accessible and userfriendly.
“We have produced a new sculpture map, with a route designed to help visitors see the best of what the local artists have to offer,” continues Wallfish, adding that “there is a Hamizer Riddle in the new sculpture garden for people to try to solve.”
Aside from being a sculptor, Hamizer, who has a regular spot on Israel Radio’s “Hakol Diburim” program, is known for devising puzzlers that listeners try to figure out for prize money.
According to Wallfish, Ein Hod is not just a place where artists display their works for the public to view and buy; the locals pitch in as well.
“We decided that the catalogue for the ‘Ready-Set-Go’ exhibition should also be ready-made,” explains the museum house designer. “We took ready-made boxes of energy bars, which were donated by [cereal manufacturer] Telma, and we printed postcards with information and packaged them inside the boxes. I think it is a neat and appropriate catalogue format for us.”
Raya Zommer-Tal, the curator of “Ready-Set-Go,” has been at the museum for over 20 years. As such, she is highly involved in the daily goings-on there and is steeped in the institution’s history.
“The museum was established by friends and admirers of Marcel Janco, who wanted to perpetuate his ideas and preserve his works,” she recounts.
“Janco’s original idea was to donate his own house as a museum, but that was rejected, and the preference was to use the plot of land next to the house and to build a larger building to accommodate his works.
Around the country, and the world, you have lots of artists’ homes and studios that have been turned into museums, but they are cramped. We now also use his studio space, but we have plenty of room.
We have one floor dedicated to Janco’s works, and the rest of the space is used for all sorts of things connected both to Janco and to Dada in general.”
Zommer-Tal notes that the ready-made theme has pervaded many areas of creative work since Duchamp decided there was something else one could do with a bicycle wheel besides riding on it.
“The whole concept of ready-made has found its way into all sorts of artistic fields, and today, there is no limit to what can be done with all sorts of objects,” she says. “In fact, these days, there are question marks raised over the relevance of conventional painting and sculpture.”
The curator says this ready-made ethic opened the floodgates for all sorts of previously unthinkable confluences, which often tend toward the absurd. “We present works that comprise two or more items, or a single item which is displayed in a way that was not originally intended by the maker. For example, if a ladder is supposed to stand on the floor, we have it hanging in the air, or we have a chair with two legs in the air.”
The left-field presentation, she says, is not just about raising eyebrows, but about getting the observer pondering avenues of thought that he or she may not have previously explored.
“If a tie is supposed to be wrapped around someone’s neck, we will present it upside-down, so it might look like a hangman’s noose,” she explains. “By presenting common... objects in an unusual way, you imbue them with some new meaning.”
Anything goes with the ready-made flow, particularly in a consumer society where increasingly rapid technological advances tend to make yesterday’s indispensable product largely superfluous.
“Not so many years ago, the Encyclopedia Hebraica was a standard item in almost all homes in Israel, but now, with the Internet and other hi-tech formats, it has become something of a dinosaur, and many artists use the volumes in their work,” she notes. “We have five works on display that incorporate parts of the encyclopedia set.”
In addition to the exhibitions, handson riddle-solving, and opportunities to pop into some of the local artists’ studios, there is a program of “acts,” or artistic performances, lined up for each Saturday until the end of September. One of the acts, Dror Karta’s Living, which took place earlier this month, caused some furor in political and other circles: It invited members of the public to aim a shoe at a picture of Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
Lapid, it is said, took the matter better than most and had a good chuckle over it.
“There was a lot of media hype about it, but we weren’t too perturbed,” says Zommer-Tal.
For more information about the exhibitions and activities: (04) 984-2548 or www.einhod.org.