until 13.03. | #0370ARTatBerlin | KW Institute for Contemporary Art shows from the 27th January 2016 the exhibition RUNNING OUT OF HISTORY with a new video work by the israeli artist Michal Helfman. It has two dialogues of the activist Gal Lusky in its center.
RUNNING OUT OF HISTORY is a new fictional video work by Israeli artist Michal Helfman. It features two sets of dialogs that revolve around the activist Gal Lusky, an Israeli woman who is the founder and head of the NGO Israeli Flying Aid (IFA), which provides humanitarian aid to populations in crisis. During the last four years IFA has been smuggling humanitarian aid to the besieged population in Syria. The work examines the concept of “smuggling” as both a concrete activist tool and as a metaphor for the artistic act, which constantly traces alternative paths within existing orders.
The film, structured as a dialog, begins with a conversation between Gal and Rassan, her Syrian collaborator, who she worked with undercover over a year and a half. It reenacts the dramatic night when Gal revealed her Israeli identity to Rassan, her Syrian counterpart. The second dialog is a conversation between Gal and the artist, addressing the differences between activism and art as well as the two women’s common aim of influencing reality through their work. The two have collaborated in the past with a long-term exchange of stories, discussing each other’s practices and the differences between their two disciplines. In the video, their conversation takes the form of an interview, and is present as the soundtrack.
The work’s format integrates both women’s activities as a strategy for “smuggling” the political and artistic discourse away from reductionism. By actively employing Gal Lusky’s smuggling method, Michal Helfman has produced an artwork in Syria: She had a pair of dice printed on 3D printers in Syria, which had been smuggled there by the IFA, originally in order to print prosthetic hands. Each of the dices’ facets bears one of the words composing the sentence “We will not forget, we will not forgive.” The sentence was originally coined in Israel in relation to the Holocaust, yet Lusky observes it as commonly used by local authorities as an excuse to legitimate its own acts of violence and aggression in the present day.
During the dialog between Gal and the artist, the screen splits into two images: One of the 3D printer printing dice, and the second of a young dancer, dancing inside the printer. As Gal and Rassan talk, they take turns rolling the dice. The very action of rolling the dice thus reshuffles the primary axiom of the sentence into fragments of hidden meanings, and allows them to reassign ideas they held until then, outside of old fixations regarding their national identities and shared interests.
Michal Helfman, born 1973 in Tel Aviv, IL, lives and works in Tel Aviv, IL. Her artistic practice is based on various techniques, among them video, installation, and drawing. Recent exhibitions include I’M SO BROKE I CAN’T PAY ATTENTION (2015, P!, New York, US), THE CENTURY MARK. TEL AVIV MUSEUM OF ART VISITS BERLIN (2015, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin), CHANGE (2013, CCA, Tel Aviv, IL), EXPERIMENTS IN TECHNIQUES OF AWAKENINGS (2012, Yaffo 23, Jerusalem), and Herzliya Biennial (2011, Herzliya, IL). She teaches at the BFA and MFA program of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.
RUNNING OUT OF HISTORY is supported by the Pais Council for Culture and Arts; Collection Hoche Partners Trust Services S.A.; Jacques and Myriam Salomon, Paris; Ultimaker; and Mafil Ltd.
The cultural programs of KW Institute for Contemporary Art are made possible with the support of the Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs.
Vernissage: Tuesday, 26th January 2016, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. With an introduction by the artist at 7:00 p.m.
Exhibition period: Wednesday, 27th Januar 2016 to Sunday, 13th March 2016Zum KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Michal Helfman Exhibition – KW Institute for Contemporary Art – Kunst in Berlin ART at Berlin