Exhibition opening. Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)
Group exhibition Water Cycles starts from the idea of hydrologic cycle, a biogeochemical cycle that describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. Curated by Udi Edelman and Avital Barak (CDA Holon, Israel), exhibition brings together works by contemporary Israeli artists Michal Baror, Maya Attoun, Haviv Kaptzon, Daniel Meir and Uri Katzenstein, joined by Croatian artists Toni Meštrović and Renata Poljak, and Swiss artist Ursula Biemann.
Exhibition will open on Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 6 p.m. at Filodrammatica Gallery (Korzo 28/1, Rijeka). Visit the exhibition until June 3, every day except Sundays and holidays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The water cycle contains both the material and symbolic meanings of the life cycle. It includes the dynamic element of movement, the instability of matters and affairs, and the challenges and opportunities that have characterized human life since ancient times. It is where nature and culture meet. The water cycle teaches us humbleness by confronting us with the power of nature and the ever-changing existence of all things. At the same time, its repetition assures our life on earth.
Uri Katzenstein: Caretakers, 2011, video still
The exhibition Water Cycles brings together several life circles created from and around various water sources and represents different perspectives. Cycles of cause and effect tell the story of an ongoing crisis and pain resulting from human behavior. But those cycles also tell a story of the potential that water holds; the way crises become opportunities and losses can transform into political action or personal motivation to pursue a better life. By following the cycle’s logic, the exhibition tries to hold both the troubles and the hope our future contains.
In times when the question of the future of water, and thus of humanity, is uncertain, embarking on a journey of tracing water gains frightening relevance. The artistic gesture of facing material reality in its many, ever-fluctuating contexts and the urgency to present this issue to the public as an aesthetic, educational, and political act are manifest in this exhibition.
PRESENTED WORKS / ARTISTS:
- Michal BarOr
- Maya Attoun
- Haviv Kaptzon
- Dani Meir
- Toni Meštrović
- Renata Poljak
- Ursula Biemann
- Uri Katzenstein
A smaller place
– two-channel video, 2021
Michal BarOr, A smaller place, video still
Michal BarOr’s video work, A Smaller Place focuses on the Kabara swamps of the present and past. The project of draining the swamps is connected to the Israeli collective memory of the Hula Swamp, but the Kabara swamps, which are found between the southern slopes of the Carmel to the shore, were the second largest in the country. As part of the ‘land redemption’ (‘geulat hakarka’) project, the Zionist pioneers drained them in the 1920s. The water source that remains from the swamps is the starting point for two points of view: the upper one and one which moves close to the ground. The two perspectives evoke the historical, political and social clash that occurred and are still taking place, the consequences of which have been catastrophe for one community and prosperity and flourishing for another. Another national project, no less dramatic, which separates parts of Israel and interrupts the flow of human movement in space, turns out to be very limited in blocking water.
Interviewee: Muhammad Ammash | Drone photo: Asher Aslan | Video Editing: Simi Lee Jones | Special thanks: Alex Ben Ari
Michal BarOr lives and works in Israel/Palestine, she finished her MA at the Royal College of Art – London. In her works, BarOr asked about the construction of knowledge, private and public memory and the process of history writing. She raises questions about the limits of vision that are forced upon a subject by scientific, historical, and geographical settings. By looking at how knowledge is organized and presented she traces the roots of our understanding of the world. Her work hones in on these arrangements themselves: what is kept where, what is being left outside, what kind of connections are being made in different historical times. In many of her works the archive functions as a raw material from which she creates new forms in order to rethink the historical narrative that it carries. BarOr has exhibited solo internationally.
Expect Poison from Standing Water (after William Blake)
– ink mixed with tap water, sea water & pool water on paper, 2021
Maya Attoun, Sea Water
Maya Attoun’s ink drawings Expect Poison from Standing Water examine ink’s response to water from different sources, which speaks to the phenomenon of a boundary that forms within the sea where different streams of water mix. Tap water, pool water and seawater serve as a conductive material for the ink that spreads and disintegrates and produces the image. The title of the work comes from a book of collected texts by William Blake called The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Blake sees the devil and the angel as representations of opposing forces within the human spirit: ‘energetic creators’ and ‘rational organizers’. The drawings evolve from the properties of the matter itself into the water as a metaphor for emotions and consciousness in which parallel currents of opposing impulses exist.
Maya Attoun was born in Jerusalem in 1974. She lives and works in Tel Aviv. Attoun acquired both a BFA and MFA at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Attoun is a multidisciplinary artist, engaging in a dialogue between thought processes, intuited gestures, materials and images. Her work encompasses a variety of media that includes murals, drawings, prints, sculptural objects, ready-mades and sound. Through these she reflects on modernity, history of popular culture, and the intersection of myth, narrative and science. Attoun is a lecturer at the Multidisciplinary Art Faculty, Shenkar College for Engineering and Design, and at the School of Visual Theatre. Attoun’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Israel and abroad.
The Desert and the Flood
– video 14’00, 2021
Haviv Kaptzon: The Desert and the Flood, 2021., video still
The inspiration for Haviv Kaptzon’s installation The Desert and the Flood is the range of wetness that leads to new and holistic thinking about streams. The wetness of the basin is the inspiration for a fictional narrative that brings together myth and history, the past and the future in the shadow of the nightmarish predictions of global warming and the drying up of water sources. The piece has two simultaneous layers, that of wall drawing and that of video-screening, which create tension between the permanent and temporary dimensions. This tension also returns in the three stories told by a formless entity that leads us in the story of creation on the axis of time toward an apocalyptic future.
Narrator: Olivia Hild | Hand model: Chaya Hazan | Sound mix: Sima Gutman | Post production: Danny Finkenthal
Haviv Kaptzon, born in 1983, lives and works in Tel Aviv. Kaptzon received his BFA at Shankar School of Art and Design and his MFA at Bezalel Academy. Kaptzon exhibited solo in Alfred Gallery (2015), Sadnaot Haomanim (2016), Kav-16 Gallery (2020) and participated in group exhibitions at Gabirol Gallery (2014), Helena Rubinstein pavilion (2014), the city Gallery of Kfar Saba (2016), Sadnaot Haomanim (2018), The Center for Contemporary Art (2018), Jerusalem Film Festival (2020), Center for Digital Art in Holon (2021). His work “Power” was recently acquired by the Tel Aviv Museum.
Water Above, Water Below
– sound installation, 2021
The sound installation by Daniel Meir Water Above, Water Below, plays with the biblical metaphor: the separation of upper water and lower water. The installation is based on the sound map of the same name within the Atlas of Mediterranean Liquidity. The auditory experience, which invites lingering and immersion, offers a sensory connection to the physical feeling of being in water.
Daniel Meir (b. 1972, Haifa, Israel) is a Tel-Aviv-based sound artist and sound designer specializing in sound design and original music for video art, documentaries, film, art installations, and theater. He works with critically acclaimed artists, filmmakers, and musicians. Notably, he has collaborated on works that have been featured in the Venice Biennale, Documenta, as well as Academy Award nominated films and a Cannes Festival winning film. Daniel teaches sound art and sound design at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem. In addition, He is the co-founder and director of Halas Radio, an experimental internet radio station sponsored by The Israeli Center for Digital Art.
– multichannel video installation HD 1080p, Pal, color, silent, 10’00 loop, 2012
Toni Meštrović, Zenith, 2012, video installation
Zenith is a two channel video piece from a work in progress series The Vertical Studies. The sculptural set up with two monitors one above the other and facing each other explores the idea of a vertical horizon by showing the sun in its zenith, seen in the sky and reflected in the sea, as rays of sun penetrate its depth.
Toni Meštrović, born 1973 in Split, Croatia, is a multimedia artist working predominantly in form of video and sound installations. He graduated with a Graphic Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1999, where he produced graphic arts, sculpture and installation. Due to his interest in electronic audio-visual media, he studied Video/Digital Imaging with prof. Valie Export at the International Summer Academy for Contemporary Art in Salzburg in 1997, and completed a two-year postgraduate diploma in Media Art with prof. David Larcher and prof. Anthony Moore at the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne in 2004. Video, sound and audio-visual installations produced during Meštrović’s postgraduate studies explore his personal perception of the sea, and the island where he grew up. After his return to Croatia in 2004, his work deals with themes of cultural heritage, identity and the transformations that have occurred in Dalmatia due to the period of transition. Some of his continuous thematic preoccupations are the assimilation of the linear and cyclical time and the exhaustion of a type of narrative that we are used to and expect in our quotidian lives, as well as a wide range of the topic of change, either as a record of evaporation of water like in a closed circuit video installation, or as a commentary of social change. Since 1992, he has taken part in group and solo shows, as well as video festivals, in Croatia and internationally. He lives in Rijeka and Kaštela, and is Associate Professor at the Arts Academy University of Split, Department of Film and Video.
– video, 11’00, 2016
Renata Poljak, Partenza, video still
Film entitled Partenza express the global insecurity of contemporary society and the fragility of human existence. Metaphorically, they address a story about departure, waiting and separation, dictated by migrations. In the early 20th century, it was usual yet traumatic for men to leave Croatian islands (mostly bound for the countries of South America) due to poverty and hunger. One of these tragic stories is weaved into the author’s family history. The film is inspired by the life story of Renata’s great-grandmother who lived on the island of Brač, whose husband went to Chile looking for work in order to secure his family’s future. Like many of the island’s women, she waited for her husband who, like many of the men, never returned. Partenza (Italian for departure, and used in many of Croatia’s island and coastal dialects) is inspired by the contemporary tragedies of migrants at sea. The author uses this phenomenon as a connecting thread and a reminder that not so long ago we were in the same boat. It links two stories – the one of Croatia from the early 20th century and today’s plight of African and Asian refugees. This film, using migrant and refugee stories which repeat throughout history, very powerfully and suggestively points to the human condition as fragile and susceptible to political, economic and social changes.
Renata Poljak (Split, 1974) graduated at the School of Fine Arts in Split and got her MFA at the École Régionale des Beaux-Arts, Nantes, France. She is working mostly in the media of video, film, neon lights, photo collages and installation. Her works have been shown at numerous national and international solo and group exhibitions, biennials and film festivals. She received many awards at film festivals and art exhibitions. In 2010 Poljak showed a substantial selection of her films at the screening program of Prospective Cinema at the Centre Georges Pompidou and in October 2012 at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. In 2013 her solo show ‘Uncertain Memories’ in NYC was selected as the show of the month by Village Voice. In 2017 her artist book entitled Don’t Turn Your Back On Me was published by Verlag für moderne Kunst GmbH, Vienna including essays by Elisabeth Lebovici and others. For Kinoscope Lars Henrik Gass (Festival Director, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen) choosed Porvenir in Top Five Shorts of 2020.
– two-channel video, 2012 (A voyage into molecular structures, Part 3 – 16’45; Water samplings 1-16 – 1:22:00)
Ursula Biemann, Egyptian Chemistry, 2012, video still
The video installation Egyptian Chemistry (2012) by Ursula Biemann is based on videographic field documents and actual water samples taken from numerous sites along the Nile. The project examines water engineering and desert development projects, and the hydraulic, social and chemical conditions of soil and water in Egypt. Water is integral to many fields such as land use politics, crop export, nitrate industries, farmer’s collectives and hydropower; it is the undercurrent that connects the political and nonpolitical practices of Egyptian life. Drawing on the theory and practice of chemistry as a system of internal relations, this aquatic narrative tells multiple stories involving organic, social and technological factors in contemporary Nile ecologies. Egyptian Chemistry considers the minute material transformations as a force that drives the construction of our concrete and political reality, and places scientific interest, fieldwork, and videography as practices that produce reality within this process.
Ursula Biemann is an artist, author, and video essayist. Her artistic practice is strongly research oriented and involves fieldwork in remote locations from Greenland to Amazonia, where she investigates climate change and the ecologies of oil, ice, forests and water. In her multi-layered videos, the artist interweaves vast cinematic landscapes with documentary footage, SF poetry and academic findings to narrate a changing planetary reality. Biemann’s pluralistic practice spans a range of media including experimental video, interview, text, performance, photography, cartography, props and materials, which converge in formalised spatial installations. Her work also adopts the form of publications, lectures, and curatorial as well as collaborative research projects. Since 2018 she has become involved in the co-creation of the Indigenous University in Colombia with the project Devenir Universidad. Biemann has had retrospective exhibitions at MAMAC Nice and the Centre culturel suisse Paris, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein n.b.k., Bildmuseet Umea in Sweden, Nikolaj Contemporary Art in Copenhagen, and Helmhaus Zurich. Her work also contributes to major exhibitions in museum worldwide and to the International Art Biennials in Sao Paulo, Gwangju, Shanghai, Taipei, Shardjah, Liverpool, Bamako, Istanbul, Montreal, Venice, Thessaloniki, Cuenca and Sevilla. The artist has published many books and a 2021 online monograph Becoming Earth on her ecological video works.
– video, 2011
Uri Katzenstein: Caretakers, 2011, video still
Uri Katzenstien video Caretakers involves friends and family of the artist. This choice reflects the existential anxiety of losing those loved ones. We see them calling each other, recognizing and happy to discover a familiar face. The joy of discovery increases the sense of anxiety; are these the few who survived an eclipse catastrophe. The characters stand on fictional islands floating on a sea surface where two suns set. They can hardly be moved, and there is no way to abandon them. Every little movement of the body endangers their stability. Despite the narrow space and dangerous conditions, the people on the islands communicate with each other, each in their own way. They wave and smile and hope for a response. Some use binoculars or a telescope to look for other, more distant signs of life. But the horizon is empty, and it is not clear what it encodes.
Video by Uri Katzenstein | Composed by Ohad Fishof, Ishai Adar & Uri Katzenstein | Lyrics by Ohad Fishof
The Israeli artist Uri Katzenstein (1951–2018) was a sculptor, performance artist, musician, filmmaker and builder of sound machines. Katzenstein studied at the San Francisco Art Institute in the late 1970s, and after receiving his MFA moved to New York City where he lived and worked throughout the 1980s. His early performance works were regularly presented at such legendary performance venues as The Kitchen, the No Se No Social Club, Brooklyn Arts Council, 8BC and Danceteria. His works in sculpture, video and installation have been exhibited at the Chelsea Art Museum (New York), the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, the Tel Aviv Museum, The Israel Museum (Jerusalem), Museum Beelden aan Zee (Scheveningen) and the State Russian Museum (Saint Petersburg). Katzenstein has participated in the São Paulo Art Biennial (1991), the Venice Biennale (2001), the International Art Biennial of Buenos Aires (first prize, 2002), the Biennale in Poznań, and the 9th Istanbul Biennial (2005). His performance works have been shown in theaters and galleries in London, Berlin, San Francisco, Cardiff (Wales), Santiago de Compostela (Spain), New York and Tel Aviv.
Water Cycles is taking place in the framework of a collaboration between CDA Holon and the Goethe Institute and as part of the large-scale, regional project of artistic, research-based, and interactive atlas about water issues around the Mediterranean. This exhibition is the second in a series started last year at CDA Holon in Israel, with the exhibition Water Affair; and hopefully will continue to travel and develop throughout the region.
The Atlas of Mediteranian Liquidity is a digital platform for maps based on an artistic and research-oriented representation of different perspectives relating to water. The atlas is an ongoing project in its preliminary phase that enables a plurality of voices and representations that can co-exist without hierarchy.
Udi Edelman is the Director and Chief Curator of CDA Holon (Center for digital art), the Founder Director of the Institute for Public Presence and Chief Editor of Maarav – art and culture journal. Curator of Rakia Mission at the International Space Station (ISS), 2022. Among the exhibitions and projects he curated are “Histories”(2013) on ‘historically interventional art’; “State<Chronicle”(2013-2014) history in public squares; “Akcja PRL”(2015) performance festival of public action, Warsaw; “Monument/Action” trilogy (2016-2018); “What are monuments made of”(2017), 11th Kaunas Biennial, Lithuania; “Murals” (2019-) exhibition. His research often deals with history in art, monuments and action in the public sphere, critics of technology, artistic research and cooperation between academic thought and art practices.
Avital Barak is a scholar of movement and performance, an associate curator at the CDA (Center for Digital Art) Holon, and a Ph.D. candidate at Tel Aviv University’s School of Cultural Studies. Her research focuses on the political potential and forms of resistance visible in pe of movement in the public space. Since 2017 she has been leading artistic and scholarly research projects at the Institute for Public Presence. In the last ten years, she curated solo and group exhibitions in Israel and published articles in prominent journals in Hebrew and English.
☛ Filodrammatica Gallery, Korzo 28/1, Rijeka
12 May – 3 June, 2022
Thursday, 12 May, 2022, 6 – 8 p.m.
GALLERY OPENING HOURS:
Mon-Sat, 4 – 8 p.m.
(contact us to arrange another time of your visit)
Michal Baror, Maya Attoun, Haviv Kaptzon, Daniel Meir, Uri Katzenstein / Israel
Toni Meštrović, Renata Poljak / Croatia
Ursula Biemann / Switzerland
Udi Edelman & Avital Barak