One on One – Collector Invites Artist
Ben Dror Yemini
It was once an officers’ club; a nice name that perhaps hides something, who really knows? Was it a brothel where women were once put on display? Later it housed the IDF orchestra.
And then it was a ruin.
Until Tiroche arrived, and turned the place into a work of art, inside which uplifting artworks are exhibited.
The story of the house and its incarnations is the story of a place; the story of a country and its art.
The exhibition title is “Collector Invites Artist.”
That is misleading.
Collecting is an art.
You cannot be a collector if you don’t have an artist’s soul.
The artist, Eran Shakine, connects us to the history of the place when he shows us Herzl, the first man to
dream about a New Middle East, with initial thoughts of evicting the Arabs, and more consolidated thoughts of equality for the Arabs — all of them shattering in the face
of the current local, Middle Eastern version of Marilyn Monroe, with a deceptive facial cover that turns her, perhaps, into a sort of bearded Herzl.
It is impossible to discern Herzl’s tears; he might be weeping over a new and frightening Middle East, where whether Monroe is smiling or weeping — we will never know. After all, her face is veiled.
We once lived in an era of welcome — ahalan wasahalan — today we are cursed.
The Middle East absorbs the few and the frightening, and throws out the many and the frightened.
And perhaps it’s an illusory spectacle? For Shakine’s works bear the fragrance of American Pop Art, with the works on display clearly in dialogue with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and even Mark Rothko. Shakine often exhibits works with familiar figures that arouse associations with public and personal knowledge. Now he does it again. Herzl, Monroe, the Pope who turns into Pop Art, all caught in between the realms of
the historical and the political, and requiring gripping contemplation.
The interpretation is left to the observer.
In previous works Shakine erased the distinction between the creation and the creator, for example, when he dressed Ralph Lauren in the clothes
he designed for women.
Further contemplation raises a possible interpretation – that even on brief inspection of only a few seconds, the distinction between the creation and observer is erased. Because the creation demands longer contemplation, the question is not “what did the artist mean?” but rather, “what does the observer?”
Ben Dror Yemini is a journalist, researcher and lecturer, fashioner of words and ideas, residing
in the space between journalistic writing and research, a controversialist.
He was in love with the New Middle East, but was forced to undergo withdrawal due to the practical implications of those innovations.
He is in a constant search for new paths, which usually turn out to be blocked.