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Into the Unknown: A Local Journey in Video Works, 1996-2022

A large LED screen in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art entrance foyer presents an hour-long sequence of video works by Israeli artists. Created in 1996-2022, the works reflect current events, as the moving images chart a visual topography of the country, a journey through places and landscapes that echo our present moment in time. The large screen seems to gather the sights and sounds from the Museum Square outside, which since October 7 has become a seismograph of the fear, agony and dread of countless Israelis. Into the Unknown emerged from the impossibility of this place and its endless beauty.

Exhibiting artists: Tzion Abraham Hazan, Talia Keinan, Daniel Kiczales, Sigalit Landau, Dana Levy, Shabtai Pinchevsky, Tom Pnini, Adam Rabinowitz, Doron Solomons, Ronen Zen, Nana and Boaz Zonshine

Doron Solomons
Tonight’s Headlines, 2006
5:51 min

Doron Solomon's silent newscast opens the sequence. Solomons shot the renowned news anchors Yonit Levi and Gadi Sukenik during a broadcast, capturing their gestures and expressions in the quick intervals between news items. Their expressions – sometimes serious, sometimes empathetic, or slightly amused – display various mannerisms associated with news broadcasts. The work begins and ends with the familiar musical theme of Hevrat Hahadashot (The News Company), which puts viewers in a state of preparedness and alertness. However, when the anchors’ voices are silenced, one can “fill in the blanks” or, perhaps, nothing remains to be said about the current events? [Neve Ilan]

Daniel Kiczales
Cypress, 2021
3:47 min

Daniel Kiczales’s row of cypresses surrounds a typical landscape – a field of ripe watermelons at sunset. One of them is on fire. Often found in cemeteries, the cypress tree, graceful and durable, remains standing despite its burning crown. The sight reflects at once a foreboding sense of danger, yet there is a glimmer of hope: the burning tree echoes the biblical burning bush that is on fire but was not consumed by the flames. [Hefer Valley]

Daniel Kiczales, Cypress, 2021
03:47 min

Courtesy of the artist
The work was created thanks to support by the New Gallery Artists’ Studios Teddy, Jerusalem
Editing: Kobi Vogman

Sigalit Landau
I Wanted Better for Her – Not Worse, 2016
11:40 min

Sigalit Landau’s almond tree fills the screen with its blossom when one of the tree branches is suddenly forcefully shaken, and the white-pink petals fall like snow on the ground to the sound of a string instrument. Landau weaves a violent dance of the almond tree flowers with the shaking branches by editing the sequence forward as if willing the fallen petals to blossom again. [Lower Galilee]

Ronen Zen
Khan al-Akhdar #2, 2017
5:08 min

Ronen Zen’s olive tree stands – only barely – alone, framed by black camera tripods set up by the village boys and girls. Behind is a breathtaking view of the Judean Desert and the Bedouin inhabitants’ shacks, which seem like ancient terraces. The area’s residents have been living in uncertainty for years due to the planned evacuation of these settlements. The olive tree anchors their perseverance. [Khan al-Akhmar]

Tom Pnini
Cloud Demo/Manara, 2010
6:13 min

On Israel’s northern border, Tom Pnini sculpts three funicular cars covered in a white, airy substance moving slowly between heaven and earth across the Manara Ridge. They rise to the sound of chirping birds, trapping viewers before an absurd scene of the three cars mimicking the movement of the clouds behind them. The poetic quality of this blurring of distinction between heaven and earth is ominous when we know that the residents of Kibbutz Manara have been evacuated, and there is no knowing when they will be able to return to their homes. [Kibbutz Manara]

Adam Rabinowitz
Heaven’s Gate, 2021
0:46 min

Adam Rabinowitz
Jericho Sequence, 2022
1:28 min

Adam Rabinowitz’s works slowly dissolve static digital slides of colorful lights. In Heaven’s Gate, Rabinowitz rips open a round fireball as he references the secret Heaven’s Gate cult, whose followers committed mass suicide in 1997 when the Comet Hale-Bopp became visible to the naked eye. In Jericho Sequence, named after a nuclear ballistic missile developed by Israel, the horizon appears to rise and fall; the mushroom cloud at its center appears like open lips. Rabinowitz uses digital means to create visions that link amazement with dread before abstract sublime landscapes. [Heaven + Jericho]

Shabtai Pinchevsky
Perpetual Motion of the Fourth Kind, 2019
3:33 min

Shabtai Pinchevsky charts a new geographical mark around the Jerusalem frontiers by constantly rolling a football over the terrain. Pinchevsky creates an alternative map with invisible borders by joining distant geographical areas. The ball’s motion reveals the layered and complex views of the Jerusalem environs, playfully rolling through the contested territory. [Jerusalem]

Nana and Boaz Zonshine
Untitled, 1996
1:30 min

Still in Jerusalem but with their faces to Tel Aviv, Nana and Boaz Zonshine’s curious video connects imagery of the Western Wall with imagery of the Tel Aviv seaside. The waves breaking on the row of believers and rushing toward the Wall distort reality and evoke in viewers a sense of uncertainty and disorientation. The religious and the secular fuse together in a meditative loop. [Jerusalem – Tel Aviv]

Tzion Abraham Hazan
Salit, 2013
6:08 min

Tzion Abraham Hazan created a short film set in the Museum Square, which, in these past months, has become almost unrecognizable. Surrounded by major public buildings including, the Court of Law, HaKirya IDF Headquarters, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Beit Ariela Library, the square has always been a charged location. The artist moves between film and animation creating a cycle of salty tears – from the green female figure on the Salit staple salt package to the weeping ram in Menashe Kadishman’s iconic and monumental sculpture "The Sacrifice of Isaac" in the Museum Square. [Tel Aviv Museum of Art Square]

Talia Keinan
Tea, 2004
5:34 min

Moving southward, Talia Keinan sets her video on a friend’s balcony in the Florentine neighborhood in south Tel Aviv. She sets her gaze on the teacup in front of her, her camera’s lens filming through the glass. Slowly, the tea leaves floating at the top of the frame sink to the bottom of the glass, creating an apocalyptic, post-nuclear scene. Foreseeing the future through reading the intricate forms of tea leaves expresses a personal and collective desire to predict and shape reality. [Florentine]

Dana Levy
Departures – 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, 2009
4:00 min

Dana Levy closes the video cycle by releasing 50 white doves through a window at the Sturman Nature Museum in Ein Harod. It seems that Noah’s biblical ark has already moored after the land was drenched and all life destroyed by the flood. Now that the earth has dried and the covenant is reestablished, it is time for new beginnings and high hopes. [Ein Harod Meuhad]

Other exhibitions

Holds Everything Dear: Masterworks on Paper
Shalom Sebba: As a Matter of Fact
Shmini Azeret
Looking for a Rainbow