Current Affairsby Camea Smith | 11.02.18
“Rise, awaken,” prompts the handwritten scrawl in Moshe Gershuni’s painting, serving as the very first impression to the visitors frequenting the Current Affairs exhibition at the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art. Moshe Gershuni, one of Israel’s most prominent artists who passed away over a year ago, cited in his painting the opening line of The Internationale, the socialist worker’s anthem. The painting sets off the exhibition with a seemingly jolting message, as if the late artist uses the well known sentence to call the living to action.
Current Affairs is the first exhibition curated by Doron Rabina in his new role as chief curator of Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Rabina chose to curate his debut exhibition in the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion, a building located in Tel Aviv’s Culture Square, within walking distance from the Tel Aviv Museum. Rabina wished to connect the two different venues by putting one of the exhibition’s works on display in the museum’s main building: Karam Natour’s video – “Nothing Personal” – is exhibited in the Jeanette Asia Galleries. Rabina proclaimed his intention to address the link between both venues in future exhibitions.
Current Affairs also includes two photographs by another influential artist who passed on in the last two years, Yossi Breger. One of his photographs eerily focuses on a paperback by the British writer Christopher Brett Bailey, entitled “This is How We Die.” An untimely death is a recurring theme in several works, such as in the bronze sculpture of a bereaved father cradling his dead son, cast in 1952 by the Belarusian artist Oscar Miestchaninoff. In addition, Werner Braun’s photograph from 1966, “David Palombo Working on the Knesset Gates”, portrays the sculptor David Palombo, who met a premature death later that year.
The aforementioned works are juxtaposed by playful wall paintings. Six murals were created especially for the show and will be pulled down as the exhibition comes to a close, opposing the conventional inclination of murals to permanently affix an image onto a surface. The temporary nature of the murals is enhanced in Irit Hemmo’s dust drawing, which binds for a short while one of the most ephemeral substances. The artist initiates carefully orchestrated dust storms with a vacuum cleaner that ejects dust (instead of inserting it into the apparatus), using templates in a gradual layering process.
The exhibition is currently on view until March 10 at the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art, 6 Tarsat Boulevard and at Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 27 Shaul Hamelech Boulevard, Tel Aviv.