Philip Rantzer wan born in 1956, Romania
The work was shown first in the Israeli pavilion in the Venice Biennale in 1999. Curator: Meir Ahronson.
“The work of Philip Rantzer takes place in a defined space. In a spacious shack, made of simple wood. Old dolls, stuffed animals, lie on a large table covered with ratty carpets that stands in the center of the shack. The whole comprises remnants of a past that inhabits undefined, continuous time, progressing toward an equally undefined future. The viewer entering Rantzer’s exhibition space symbolizes the present; he is present time (according to Walter Benjamin’s perception of time). The viewer activates the installation. Unbeknownst to him, Rantzer gives him the power to activate the things on and around the table, to begin the Shaman-like ceremony of reviving the dolls, which i have described elsewhere.This act is concealed from the viewer. As far as he can tell, it is automated and mechanized. He does not press the button that begins the ceremony. Rather, it is his movement in the space that triggers the doll’s breathing mechanism, though all he see is chaotic movement whose cause is obscure. suddenly, something happens. He does not know why or what instigated it. The chaos is a result of there being several points of activation, which are not triggered in any set order, nor according to the path off the viewer’s movement.