Elie Shamir | Preaching to the Choir

Curator: Maayan Sheleff
Sep. 26, 2015 - Dec. 26, 2015

The exhibition “Preaching to the Choir” consists of video and performance works, but it opens with a lone painting, Elie Shamir’s Lullaby for the Valley. Five young women singing in a choir are depicted in a plowed field, and next to them, a man playing the accordion. Doron Lurie identified a dual tension in this painting, and in the polemic of Eretz-Israeli painting in general, “one arising between idealistic-utopist description and mimetic-realistic description; and another arising between a moral judgment of the situation’s failure and the need and wish for education, propaganda, and expressions of identification.”[1] Similar tension arises from many other works in the exhibition, which carry the dual political potential of choral singing: as a text which elicits identification with uniform national values, and as a signifier of their future deconstruction via protest and revolution. The eternal and the mundane, as well as the conflicts embodied in them, are presented side by side, reflecting the reality of life for the viewer, just like the tragic heroes in Shamir’s paintings. They are imprisoned by their fate in the landscape of their homeland, which is bruised and scorched along with the utopian ideals of their ancestors.

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