Of Life and Death

Members of the Meeting Point Central Exhibition Artistic Committee
Michal Baror
Ohad Benit
Itay Blaish
Eyal Landesman
Michal Vaknin
Oded Yedaya
Amira Kasim Ziyan

Of all the possible meeting points – physical, virtual and theoretical – and of all the possible interactions – cultural, artificial and natural – one is more significant than any other: The meeting point between life and death, a dramatic moment which changes the shape of things forever. In Of Life and Death, members of the Meeting Point Central Exhibition artistic committee present works which examine this extreme meeting point, whose presence in our lives is unavoidable and which follows us from the moment our consciousness allows us to consider it until the moment we draw our last breath.

Not everyone views youth and death through a one-way prism. Amira Ziyan examines the phenomenon of reincarnation, a widespread and deeply held belief in the Druze community to which she belongs. The Arabic word for reincarnation, “taqmus”, means “changing one’s clothing”, reflecting the notion that the human body is a temporary vessel for the spirit that is reborn again and again. The sanctification of youth in our culture is apparent in Itay Blaish’s work, which contrasts the intoxicating power and seeming invincibility of youth with the contemporary death mask we wear as we give into computers and technology from a young age.

Jerusalem’s Natural History Museum, which seeks to present the living world but in fact houses displays that are nothing but dead and preserved, is home to Michal Vaknin and Ilanit Ben Yaakov’s theatrical work, “The Opposite of Alive”, in which the viewer is invited to ponder the line between life and its opposite. After Vaknin’s father died merely a month before her eldest daughter was born, she returned to the old familiar bear and cheetah to continue her reflection. The museum is also apparent in the works of Michal Baror, who joins images taken on the streets and museums of Prague. Unlike the standard touristic gaze, she prefers forsaken corners and dark corridors, treating the photographs as objects engaged in dialogue and inviting us to join the game of meaning and forge our own vision.

Oded Yedaya’s starting point is the demonstrations which began as a protest against the erection of the West Bank barrier, and have since become a weak condemnation against the theft and injustice of the Occupied Territories. Using his camera, he attempts to collect “evidence” that he knows will not be able to affect change, in order to represent a nearby reality in which the distance between life and death is far closer, as well as express the dual meaning of one who is both an observer and a participant in injustice.

Ohad Benit links feelings of the heart to life itself – “the heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking. It is necessary to go through dark and deeper dark and not to turn” (Stanley Kunitz). In his work “Heart Spell”, the slowed and speeded beating of a heart becomes irregular, causing an internal storm like the darkening of the sky on a cloudy day or the silence of the sun a moment before it disappears. Eyal Landesman reflects on the surprise and totality of death through a glance at the challenges of the past year of his life.

Top photo: Michal Baror

Ya’ara Raz Haklai

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