Manofim. Сontemporary Art Week in Jerusalem

At the end of October 2018, started in Jerusalem the jubilee contemporary art art, Manofim (Levers). There were invited directors of museums and galleries of contemporary art from 14 countries around the world such as: Brazil, Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, USA, Uzbekistan and China. Guests had the opportunity to explore the culture and art of Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, having a 5-day festival-tour. This was attended by museums and galleries, cultural centers and artists themselves working in all forms of visual arts: video, animation, painting , graphics, sculpture.

The project “Manofim” appeared in 2008 thanks to two artists, graduated from “Betsalel” Liya Shulov and Rinat Edelstein, who decided to unite the creative initiatives of the capital. For this reason, they invited gallery owners, creative associations, and art schools to come together and generate new ideas. They organized walking routes in various quarters of the city “from gallery to gallery” in Nahlaot, in the Old Town in Mishkenot Sheananim, in Talpiot, Musrara, etc., and over the years this became the official face of the art scene of Jerusalem.

The exhibition route began from the heart of Jerusalem in the Talbiya quarter. The area is well known for the fact that it consists of many layers that store a variety of historical narratives. There is the residences of the President and the Prime Minister, many art galleries, research institutes and the Museum of Islamic Art, where the opening of the festival and the main exhibition “Property” took place, that after was followed by a tour of Talbiya called “Arabic-speaking houses”. In fact, the area, was founded in the 19th century by wealthy Palestinian Arab Christians, that reached its architectural peak in the 1920s. Beautiful Arab villas stand to this day, as the remnants of the past. After the war in 1948, Palestinian residents, who once led a full and rich cultural life, were forced to leave their homes and flee. Subsequently, the area was settled mainly by Israeli Jews. To this day, Talbiya remains a bourgeois quarter. Its inhabitants then and now are professors, scientists, diplomats and government officials. The exhibition tour draws attention to the intriguing and stratified aspect of ​​the Talbiya area.

This year, the foreign guests were offered a slightly different route from the gallery districts of Jerusalem to the museums and galleries of modern art in Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, Haifa, Kibbutz, Herzliya and Umm al-Fahm. Each gallery and museum represented projects with Israeli and Palestinian artists. There was initiated a common dialogue about the place of existence of the two cultures, coexistence, collective and individual memory, and migration. As an example, the curatorial project of Amit Shem with a group of artists, “Mark's Excavations”, that was presented at the Hansen House Media and Technology Center in Jerusalem. The exhibition examines the growing trend of contemporary artists towards the study of the “archaeological metaphor” as an artistic practice that seeks to expose and preserve objects of study belonging to different cultures found in excavations. In the same building at the basement video films are projected from the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In the museum of Petah Tikva, there is a joint exhibition of Israeli and French artists “Last Chance to See” about traveling people, whose roads are full of crossings and violation of territorial boundaries, as more and more people travel great distances and lead a nomadic lifestyle. In the Umm al-Fahme gallery that is lacated in the same name town, as well as in the Pyramid gallery in Haifa, the work of the artist Karam Natur “Repeat After Me” draws the attention. At this exhibition, Natur analyzes repetition through tradition, heritage and history. Cohen-Schneiderman curator of the Center for Contemporary Art Hill in Bat Yam with a group project “Abundance” - exhibits sculptures, although not all the exhibits are such, that are objects from everyday life that surround us, from day to day. This dialogue reflects the struggle between the desire to be attached to reality, to react to it, and at the same time a thirst for the need to break through its borders.

It was very interesting to look into the ateliers of artists in the Art Cube Artists studios, which were created in 1982 by the Jerusalem Foundation. It was the first Israeli art institution to offer artists a subsidized workspace for a long period of time. The complex itself includes 15 studios for professional artists from all fields of visual arts. Artists selected by an art committee can work in the complex for up to five years. In addition, there are held new exhibitions and projects created specifically for the gallery, and therefore they are actively involved in the artistic and cultural discourse in Jerusalem. For example, at the Art Cube Studio presented four works by Israeli artists Raid Adon, Hannan Abu-Hussein, Majada Aboud and Rafat Hattab, curated by Rachel Maggart, entitled “The Unmarked Body”. In this exhibition, artists explore the themes of sacrifice, homelessness and various metamorphosis.

The festival also featured retrospective exhibitions. Two exhibitions “Dialogue” by artist Sidon Rotenberg (1937-2018) and an exhibition of etchings by famous Israeli-Palestinian artist Anna Tycho “Landscape Rhythms” (some of which were created in the workshop in the 1970s) were presented in the Print workshop in Jerusalem. ). More of the artist's works can be seen at Museum-House of the Anna Tycho.

Practically in all cultural institutions, whether it is the Hansen House Media and Technology Center or the print workshop in Jerusalem, the Pyramid Gallery, built in an abandoned area of Haifa on the site of an old school or the House of Artists with a long history (earlier it was here the National Museum of “Betsalel”, founded in 1906 by Boris Shatz, which collection later moved to the Israel Museum) there are laboratories and experimental sites for the artists themselves, where they can create new projects.

This is exactly what Uzbekistan lacks: a private initiative to create such festivals, the activity of sponsors and the development of a general concept in which a private gallery with various residence programs could create projects and then show them to state museums.

Shahnoza Karimbabaeva