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Art that disturbs

TEL AVIV: Visual artist David Reeb's exhibition Disturbance challenges Israel's big taboo: the occupation of Palestine.


Established Israeli visual artist David Reeb has given his production a clear political edge in recent years. He regularly films clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, and with a few frames as publishers he then creates large paintings that capture the conflict in the present. The HaMidrasha gallery in Tel Aviv has a small selection of his latest pictures on the walls. They target two significant cases – first, Ahed Tamimi, the young Palestinian woman who became an important symbol of the resistance when she was arrested and imprisoned last year, and Khan el Ahmar, a Bedouin village, which the authorities have long been planning to tidy.

«The exhibition is called disturbance»Says the curator of the exhibition, Avi Lubin. "That's the theme of the pictures, but David Reeb also chose the title to explore how art can disrupt the political habits of the surrounding community. But he has also included some of his abstract pictures in the exhibition to show how abstract art and political interrupt each other. ”

How does his art interfere? «By exhibiting the photos directly out to the street. We have large windows so you can't avoid seeing the political as you pass by on the way to the beach. Almost all other galleries in the city are closed to the world, and the art is only seen by those who come specifically to it. ”

So how is the reaction out in town? “There are many taboo issues in our modern world. I know that public institutions in Europe are very careful to say something about religion, and in doing so, I think a lot about my social role as a curator. In this country, the conflict is taboo, and I see it as my role to use art as a forum for debate. By the way, it works. When people come here to see the pictures, the debate runs immediately, and it's exciting because the art opens up the opportunity to see the unpleasant truth in a new way. ”

Have you experienced cases of political censorship? «There is clearly more awareness of theater and film, where there have been a few significant cases of political censorship. A simple example is Barbur, a gallery in Jerusalem that was threatened with closure a few years ago, but that was because they invited a speaker who criticized the occupation. The visual arts are usually perceived as pure art and thus harmless, and that is one of the things I see as my task to change. ”

Alongside his job as curator, Avi Lubin is the editor of Tohu, an activist online art magazine: Tohu Magazine


Hans Henrik Fafner
Hans Henrik Fafner
Fafner is a regular critic in Ny Tid. Residing in Tel Aviv.

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