An Exhibition and Public Program
Touring Internationally, 2016–2017
Staring Back at the Sun: Video Art from Israel, 1970-2012, a video exhibition and public program, traces the development of contemporary video practice in Israel and highlights work by artists who take an incisive, critical perspective towards the cultural and political landscape in Israel and beyond. Staring Back at the Sun showcases the work of 35 artists, including early performances, films and videos never before presented outside of Israel. Divided into four historic and thematic sections, Staring Back at the Sun focuses on the activist impulse in video art-making in Israel over the last four decades. Informed by the international history of video art, the program traces the development of the medium in Israel and explores how artists have employed technology and material to examine the sociopolitical status quo, through themes such as the prominence of political conflict in mass media; the liberalization of the economy; and the impact of free market politics on Israeli culture.
Everything Artis does – from research trips to grants to public programs – is about supporting artists in innovative, meaningful, and essential ways.
It was with that spirit in mind that on one of our semi-annual research trips to Israel in October 2013, a conversation started sparked by the questions: why is video art from Israel so strong today, and who were the forebearers to the artists who are actively working today? What were they up to beginning in the 70s and leading to today? How did film and video from Israel correspond to contemporary international developments?
As we discussed what we did and did not know about these interrelated questions, the idea formed that Artis should seek to uncover the answers and share them with the public. We found a remarkable lack of research about the early history of video art from Israel, with the exception of work by Ilana Tenenbaum. We also discovered that no one had comprehensively surveyed or contextualized the history of video art from Israel from the 70s onward in one program.
So, it had to happen..and with a wonderful grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and in early partnership with Director Chris Bedford from the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, we invited curators Ilana Tenenbaum, Sergio Edelsztein, Avi Feldman and artist Yael Bartana to curate four one-hour long chronological sections of Staring Back at the Sun suited to their areas of expertise. All works had to be single channel so that the program could easily travel and screen as a program if desired.
We’re excited by the potential of these 35 works by 39 artists to reach people all over the world and to stimulate important conversations about the role art can play in political and social developments. Staring Back will tour internationally for two years in the format of a screening program or exhibition – see below for the evolving schedule. This mini-site will have video interviews with artists, many of them from the older generation whose work you will see in today’s program. We will have essays posted about each of the sections of this program.
I want to thank all of the participating artists and their estates, our tireless staff, our outstanding supporters The Andy Warhol Foundation, The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, The Russell Berrie Foundation, Donald Sussman, Rivka Saker and Uzi Zucker, and to our very supportive Board of Directors.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Curators & Artists
YAEL BARTANA is a Berlin-based artist best known for videos that explore the relationship between documentary and ction. Her work engages with cultural and collective identity in relation to social phenomena such as ceremonies and rituals.
ILANA TENENBAUM is an independent curator based in Haifa, Israel. Previous positions include Chief Curator of Contemporary Art at the City Gallery in Kfar Saba, Israel and Founding Director and Curator of the New Media Center at the Haifa Museum of Art. Her curatorial work focuses on the research and documentation of video art, including projects such as Videostoria, the first exhibition series to systematically survey the history of the projected image in Israeli art.
SERGIO EDELSZTEIN is Director and Chief Curator of the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, which he founded in 1998. He has curated numerous exhibitions in Israel and internationally, including Israel’s pavilion at the 24th São Paulo Biennial (1998) and the Israeli pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005 (Guy Ben Ner) and 2013 (Gilad Ratman).
CHEN TAMIR is Curatorial Associate at Artis and Curator at the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv. She was recently listed by artnet as one of 25 women curators on the rise and by Artslant as one of 15 curators to watch in 2015. She is organizing curator of this program.
AVI FELDMAN is an independent curator and writer based in Tel Aviv, Berlin and Dresden. He was the Director and co-curator of Vdance International Video and Dance Festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, and has worked as Associate Curator for avant-garde lm at the Jerusalem International Film Festival and the Petach Tikva Museum of Art.
YOSSI ATIA & ITAMAR ROSE
GUY BEN NER
HILA LULU LIN FARAH KUFR BIRIM
RUTI SELA & MAAYAN AMIR
NANA & BOAZ ZONSHINE