The Square / Towards New Alliances: Artist Residency at the Museum
A new artist residency at the Museum, a first of its kind, came about in between lockdowns and isolations during the first months of the COVID pandemic, from a sense of altered world orders. A need arose, following the crisis and the upheaval, to rethink the Museum: its place, its status, its links with the surrounding communities. In the summer of 2021, we published an open call to artists of all disciplines, calling on them to offer a framework of residency at the Museum that does not necessarily lead to final products, certainly not the common museum products. That is, not an object, not an exhibition. We offered artists a residency time throughout the Museum for purposes of research, observation, wandering, wondering, formulating ideas or meeting with other artists. Imagine a program whose core is the links between artists and the institute that exhibits them, the mutual commitment between the museum and the creative community, the history of these relations, and their future.
We received 150 fascinating proposals, featuring an extensive range of thoughts and fantasies about the museum today. We chose five proposals, each reflecting a different aspect of a potential residency at the Museum.
Hillel Roman, Noa Dar and Michal Samama, Mor Leedor, Ofri Cnaani, Sarai Kirshner
Noa Dar and Michal Samama: Land Slugs / February–March 2022
Noa Dar and Michal Samama come to the Museum from the world of dance, choreography and performance. They examine physical presences at the Museum: walking, sitting and crawling, while brushing against the physical and symbolic boundaries of the building and the institution. For them, the body seeps into the Museum not necessarily just through standing on its feet, whereas the Museum, for its part, is absorbed into the body not only through the gaze of the eye.
Against the standing body of the Museum visitors, two contrasting sources of inspiration are at the core of Dar and Samama’s activities, in which the body is in a horizontal position: the protest crawls of black American artist William Pope L. through the streets of New York, juxtaposed with female dancers supine on the studio floor, their limbs extended, and the images of recumbent women, featured throughout the history of art.
The tension between the politics and defiance of crawling through a city and the restrained and secure serenity of a museum will motivate Dar and Samama’s searches in the Museum, on the span between the institute’s publicness and openness and the intimacy it convenes. Their activity in the Museum is in fact the third chapter of the series “Land Slugs” that has been presented over the past few months. The first chapter took place in Soncino Street in south Tel Aviv and the second along the Railway Park in Jerusalem. The Museum is the most sterile of these three locations, charged with a long history of exhibition, performance and viewing relations.
Noa Dar and Michal Samama will be present in the Museum for several days a week over several weeks. From Monday, 14 February 2022, they will perform and move throughout the lobbies, corridors and connecting spaces between the Museum’s two buildings.
Monday, 14.2.2022, 10:00–13:00 / Tuesday, 15.2.2022, 10:00–13:00 / Wednesday, 16.2.2022, 16:30–18:30 / Tuesday, 22.2.2022, 10:00–13:00 / Thursday, 24.2.2022, 12:00–15:00 / Friday, 25.2.2022, 10:00–13:00 / Monday, 28.2.2022, 10:00–13:00 / Wednesday, 2.3.2022, 10:00–13:00 / Thursday, 3.3.2022, 10:00–13:00 / Tuesday, 22.3.2022, 10:00–13:00 / Thursday, 24.3.2022, 14:30–17:30 / Tuesday, 29.3.2022, 10:00–13:00 / / Thursday, 31.3.2022, 10:00–13:00
Hillel Roman / January – March 2022
Hillel Roman is the first residency artist invited to the Museum. He arrives at the Museum several times a week, enters a gallery, sits down and studies. He is taking an Open University Introduction to Chemistry course, a compulsory primary course for those who wish to study Life Sciences. The course is a gateway to scientific work in all disciplines related to the theory of matter and to everything we term life: genetics, growth, reproduction, sense, cognition, communication, and more. Roman’s study process will spread over several weeks; he will then sit the exam, which he is committed to pass, at the very least. The study process will be personal but at times will involve friends and artists, and will be partly exposed to the general public, subject to prior coordination. Roman’s residency will raise questions, and maybe even answers, about the link between art and life and about the museum as an enabler of studies.
Roman (b. 1975) is an artist and an art educator. His presence at the Museum in a performative role of a student illuminates study and research as creative activities and art as a never-ending study of the world. In this case, it is done through chemistry, but other points of view might be imagined, through other disciplines. The historical tension between science and art is about to be deconstructed here by the very assumption implied in Roman’s stay in the gallery: that chemistry is a metaphor of art and that art is a metaphor of chemistry, without hierarchy or preference. However, it is not clear whether the divide between art and science can be bridged comprehensively. Nor, for the time being, do we know whether science knows something about the essence of life which cannot be gleaned through art. We must wait to hear Roman’s insights once the course is completed.
Launching the program with a study process sends us back to the museum’s historical sources, manifested in the Mouseion, the seat of the Muses, in ancient Alexandria—the first institute to bear this name, which was in fact an academy and a library, a place in which to acquire knowledge. It also sends us forward, to a possible future or futures of the Museum, which we may hopefully find out in action.
Roman will be studying in the Gallery on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, between 10:00 and 13:00.
An event reviewing the study process will take place on Thursday, 18 March 2022, at 12:00.
With Hillel Roman, Mor Kadishzon, Dana Yahalomi, Ruth Direktor. Please join us.
The program is held with the support of the Israel Lottery Council for Culture and Arts