Jubilee Year for Mizpor in Arad
Curator: Hadas Kedar
Tal Alperstein, Yarden & Omer Halperin, Laura Kirshenbaum, Roy Menachem Markovich, Guy Nissenhaus, Goni Riskin, Chen Serfaty, Alona Weiss.
Arad Contemporary Art Center
The exhibition Jubilee Year for Mizpor in Arad revolves around Igal Tumarkin`s iconic monument Mizpor – a southern Israeli landmark from 1968 that is sited on the Eastern edge of the Negev city of Arad. The sculpture articulates enormity, or massiveness, being almost unremovable from the Negev-scape. Like many other Israeli environmental sculptures and monuments from the 1960`s and 1970’s, it can`t be overlooked – but it can be one way or another it can be reconsidered through its social functioning as a kind of dwelling space for different desires. Rumor has it that teenagers from Arad and the vicinity frequent some of the monuments from this time period and make them love nests and others regard it as a space for introspection and spirituality.
The concept of refunctionalization of social art is rooted in the researcher of place-making and geoaesthetics Giusy Checola’s The Imaginary Institution of Place: Art, Locality and Territory in Biella Region. Checola draws the root of current place-specificity back to the land art and artist-led place-making of the 1960’s. For example, according to Checola, the land art of Michael Heizer in the US serves as the roots of current phase of American place-specificity. As an institutional cultural producer in a small city, Arad, in the Eastern Negev desert, I reflected upon the role that art in public space (or in Checola’s words - place-specificity) plays in our community.
My inquiry into the environmental sculpture Mizpor, is based on a similar model as the one Checola sketches out in America. I am drawn to demonstrate how the ethos of the environmental sculpture is connected to Israeli place-specificity and the declared intention of pre-Israel Palestine and the Israeli nation to urbanize and industrialize the desert. According to Checola art in the public sphere or place-specificity, has developed, side-by-side, with the geographic theory of territorialization. Both, artistic land interventions and geographic theories of territorialization have developed from the need for presence and intervention of mankind in the land.