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Marking Territory
Curator: Sari Golan Sarig
Opening: Thursday 4.3.2010 at 20:00
Closing: Saturday 10.4.2010

Tamir Zadok

Rosenfeld Gallery is happy to host Tamir Zadok's one-person exhibition, "Marking Territory." Zadok's practice reflects a fresh, young position, introducing political art which incorporates humor and self-irony alongside acute criticism. The current show consists of a series of photographs and two short films addressing the link between (political, gender, cultural) identity and such notions as geography, nationalism, and violence.

The two films differ in style, yet both rely on fabricated contents, including violence and racism. The first film, Gaza Canal, describes the Canal's construction. It was created for the opening of a Visitor Center on site, and forms a part of the Center's permanent display. For the current exhibition it was shifted to the Gallery. The Rabin Visitor Center in Gaza Canal offers a visitors route which includes a virtual tour of the Canal, historical documentation of the digging work, and interviews with the project initiators. The Gaza Canal was created over the course of eight years, during which 61 kilometers were dug by 15,000 Jewish and Arab workers. It began as an American initiative and saw many crises along the way. Over the years, however, it became a symbol of change and improvement, a paragon of a healthier reality, creating a reality of prosperity and tourism, industry and commerce in the "island of Gaza." Zadok's chosen tactic employs tools from the field of propaganda, such as interviews and documentary photographs, which constitute the body of documentation indicating that the construction of the Canal was the optimal humanitarian act for implementation of the Israeli fantasy—"to throw all the Arabs into the sea."

The second film, Matzah Maker, takes the anti-Semitic blood libel concerning the use of Christian children's blood to make the Passover matzoth, literally exemplifying how one may, DIY, construct a simple machine for manufacturing matzoth from non-Jewish children's blood at home. The figures' roles in this work are blurred. The child from whose blood the matzoth are being "produced" does not look Christian, but rather either Arab or a Jew of Mizrahi origin. And if this is the case, then who slaughters who: Does the Arab slaughter the Jew? The Jew—the Arab? The Jew—the Christian? Through the machine aesthetics and the use of stop-motion technique for its activation, the blood libel is ridiculed.

In addition to all these, Zadok presents a series of staged photographs addressing concepts of masculinity, Mizrahi identity, initiation rites, family, army, and nationality. In these staged photographs the eye seeks a journalistic or possibly cinematic context, a coherent narrative which may tie them together; the photographs, however, present only fragmented situations which imitate and cite gestures from Zadok's personal and national reality.

Two photographs, which deviate from the pattern of the series, document a mural found in the October War Panorama in Cairo, portraying the Yom Kippur (1973) War from the Egyptian point of view. The photographs resemble classical paintings perpetuating landscapes and battles. It is hard to tell whether the medium is painting or photography; whether it is "our" photography or "theirs". The decision to extract the images from their natural place raises the thought that, under a different title, the very same images could have been presented on the Israeli side and used to recount the opposite narrative.

Zadok repeatedly asks himself questions about his ability to feel any type of belonging whatsoever. Throughout his oeuvre he depicts himself as part of various male groups, undergoing and leading rites of passage in the familial, national-military, and social realms. The duality of being close to the consensus and far-removed from it, the question of loyalty to the State and its inherent problematics, take him back, time and again, to the affiliation group in which he grew up—the national education, militarism, Israeli masculinity—with all their positive and negative aspects. Zadok's stand with regard to reality is an intricate one, which is extremely difficult to maintain, proposing to deeply love the land, yet hate our misconduct.

1 Shvil HaMif'al St., Tel-Aviv, Israel, 66535 Tel:+972 3 5229044 Fax:+972 3 5232991 gallery@rg.co.il Opening Hours; Tue.-Thur.:12 - 19, Fri.:11 - 14, Sat.:11 - 13