Sun 24 Feb 2013
My round through the local museums in Israel took me a few weeks ago to Bat Yam where the local museum of art opens for the young generation of artists coming the countries of the ex-Eastern block and especially from the former Soviet Union. The name of the exhibition Cargo Cult says something about commercialization and the relation of the artists with the world of technology and materials, airports and transportation machinery, but also about their own journey of the one made by their parents to the new old country. variety of means, very non-conventional means, nothing from the balance and some would say the stiffness of the traditional Russian art
The museum is by itself one of the most original structures that I have seen lately, a cylindrical building dwarfed by one of these water towers which are part of the local landscape in any Israeli city and were part of the mythology of the Jewish settlements in the first decades of their existence.
A few years ago I visited an exhibition at the Museum of Contemportary Art in Ramat Gan which was gathering works of Russian immigrants formed at the solid realistic schools of art in the former Soviet Union who had immigrated to Israel. There is almost nothing similar in ‘Cargo Cult’. This is undeniably an exhibition of young artists living in Israel. Sure, this is a specific sector of the art community in Israel, and these young folks are not denying but openly affirming their roots but they also have a clear approach to art and the materials art is made of that is post-modernist and their dialog with the culture of the area they or their parents came from is sustained from here.
Ivars Gravlejs from Riga gathers in his Shopping Poetry project objects acquired in shops and supermarkets and photographs them near their cash counter invoice in a reflection of the relationship between object and value, between the image and its numerical representation.
One of the older generation artists is Moscow-born Mikhail Grobman born in 1939 invited several young artists to make fluorescent replicas of works by Grobman. The semi-dark room raises questions and thoughts about the works and their amplification through reproduction.
Maxim Komar-Myshkin was born in Moscow in 1978 and died in Tel Aviv in 2011. I do not know how to describe his unusual creations – maybe stellar works?
New Barbizon Group is a team of five female artists – each creates a group of drawings and paintings reflecting reality and including probably the strongest social messages of the works in the exhibition abut the condition of women, artists, immigrants in a society like ours.
A separate room gathers Igor Guelman-Zak’s miniatures and a big neon-lights panel labeled Change – bringing to our attention the reality and scope of art, and the relativity of the relationship as expressed in the dimensions of the two very different groups of works.
An interesting exhibition and a refreshing view of an artistic community which showed up among us, another lesser known result of the immigration in a country that continues to be a melting from many points of view including art.