Fri 21 Mar 2014
We spent a nice late morning and early afternoon in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art with two documentaries in the program of the 5th edition of the EPOS International Art Film Festival and a few exhibitions, one at least worth mentioning here. All three are related to artists who lived and created in the 20th century, and whose biographies were related – in different ways – to the wars of the 20th century and and the Holocaust.
The first one was also the best. The documentary ‘Maestro or Mephisto – The Real Georg Solti’ directed by Andy Kings-Dabbs and co-produced by the BBC covers the biography, the career, the life and personality of the Jewish Hungarian conductor who was a pupil and disciple of Bartok and Toscanini, dared involve himself in the reconstruction of the Opera houses in Munich and Frankfurt immediately after WWII, brought to fame and close to musical perfection the Covent Garden Opera and the Chicago Philharmonic. He was a perfectionist and not an easy person to work with, some disliked his style or his involvement in Germany after the Holocaust, but he left a legacy of wonderful music, he built orchestras and opera houses which remain until today among the finest in the world, and he also encouraged young talents (I did not know about his role in the career of Angela Gheorghiu). It’s a wonderful documentary film for music lovers, I found it on youTube – enjoy!
Otto Dix is one of my preferred artists in the 20th century art. The Canadian documentary ‘Ten Times Dix’ directed by Jennifer Alleyn did not throw too much new light on his life and work, but at least gave us the occasion to see again some of his best works gathered in the North American exhibition which I also have seen three years ago in New York, at the Neue Gallerie.
Unfortunately this film does not seem to be available on youTube. See above the trailer.
Before and in the break between the movies we could visit some of the exhibitions currently open in the museum. One which is worth a visit is of the Polish-Jewish sculptor Alina Szapocznikow. Born in 1926 her life and biography was marked by the Holocaust which she survived but which left her with a frail health. To some extent her biography and her art reminds the one of Frida Kahlo sharing the same focus on the suffering, human body, physical pain, and sexuality – all blended in the case of Szapocznikow with the influences of surrealism. There are many poignant works in this exhibition, I avoid using the word ‘beautiful’ as some of them shout in a manner that does not fit with the norms of nice aesthetics, but the pain seems they radiate feels authentic.