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View of Barricades, Magasin III Jaffa, Tel-Aviv Jaffa, 2023. Photo: Noam Preisman.

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View of Barricades, Magasin III Jaffa, Tel-Aviv Jaffa, 2023. Photo: Noam Preisman.

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View of Barricades, Magasin III Jaffa, Tel-Aviv Jaffa, 2023. Photo: Noam Preisman.

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View of Barricades, Magasin III Jaffa, Tel-Aviv Jaffa, 2023. Photo: Noam Preisman.

Dear Visitors,
During the month of February, Magasin III Jaffa will be open only on Fridays 10:00 – 14:00, and by appointment.


Magasin III Jaffa

34 Olei Zion
6813131 Tel Aviv-Yafo
Ph ‭+972 3-9499900‬

Opening Hours

Thursday 2pm – 8pm
Friday 10am – 2pm


Barricades

Artists: Absalon, Gaston Zvi Ickowicz, Saher Miari, Shahar Yahalom.

Where there is power, there is resistance, and yet, or rather consequently, this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power. […] Hence there is no single locus of great Refusal, no soul of revolt, source of all rebellions, or pure law of the revolutionary. Instead there is a plurality of resistances, each of them a special case: resistances that are possible, necessary, improbable; others that are spontaneous, savage, solitary, concerted, rampant, or violent; still others that are quick to compromise, interested, or sacrificial.

Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), pp. 95–96.

Barricades, broken windows, fire, and destruction are the visual associations conjured up by the term “resistance.” But resistance is not always antithetical to power structures. Even when it acts against them, it is part of them, sharing methods, materials, and forms with them, existing on their margins, or reproducing them within itself. The attempt to undermine the structures of power thus involves an act of internal subversion. Resistance to power is also resistance to the power that nests within you. It identifies its traces inside itself and rejects that power via continuous acts of construction and renewal. The Israeli present is a good case in point.

The engagement with the interrelations between resistance and construction in the current exhibition was inspired by the works of Absalon (Meir Eshel), who was born in Israel and worked in France from 1987 until his untimely death in 1993. His oeuvre spanned white architectural models and structures, video works and drawings, exploring the body’s place within the social and political order.[1] His last and most comprehensive project, Cells (Cellules), was a series of six habitation units for only one person, which he planned to install in six major cities around the world. Built of wood and cardboard and painted white, these minimalist, ascetic cells, designed according to his own dimensions, were meant to explore the possibility of a space of seclusion and introspection in close proximity to city life. In the explanation accompanying Absalon’s 1993 exhibition “Cells” at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, he referred to his Cells as part of a dialectic of resistance:

The Cell is a mechanism that conditions my movements. With time and habit, this mechanism will become my comfort. […] The project’s necessity springs from the constraints imposed […] by an aesthetic universe wherein things are standardized, average. […] I would like to make these Cells my homes, where I define my sensations, cultivate my behaviors. These homes will be a means of resistance to a society that keeps me from becoming what I must become.

Absalon, Cellules (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1993), n.p.

The exhibition features two video works by Absalon that, according to the artist, manifest the same dialectic.[2] He described the earlier work, Proposals for Habitation (1991)—shot in an abstract setting where the actor, his actions, and the objects he uses are not recognizable—as a metaphor for the manner in which social structures control and dictate the individual’s everyday life. On the other hand, referring to the second, sequel video, Solutions (1992), where he shot himself in an easily recognizable environment preforming routine actions, he described it as a series of suggested solutions to life itself, no longer a metaphor. The structure in both video works is a domestic space that provides the body with protection, while at the same time restricting and suppressing it. Narrow and claustrophobic, it does not allow room for movement, bearing resemblance to the structures where the power operates, but it is also the place from which Absalon constitutes himself as a resisting individual and as an artist.

Affinities between resistance and construction also appear in the works of Gaston Zvi Ickowicz, Saher Miari, and Shahar Yahalom, who are active in present day Israel, and engage with resistance as a process that must first be built internally. In their works, plaster, cardboard, iron, and concrete become a double signifier of both oppression and resistance to it, while probing the thin, deceptive line between the two.

In the series End of Hebron Road, Gaston Zvi Ickowicz recounts the story of the thousands of Palestinian laborers who cross from the West Bank into Israel every morning through Checkpoint 300 (Rachel Crossing). Ickowicz does not photograph the workers, the checkpoint, or the soldiers. For some four years, sometimes day after day, he shot a makeshift structure, which is built over and over again by one of the workers, Hamed Ahmed Saab Arhim Tura, a structure that is dismantled time and time again by the Israeli authorities who prohibit construction in this area and the transfer of objects from the West Bank into Israel. Hamed goes to the checkpoint every night around 2:30 AM to avoid the severe congestion and delays later on. After crossing the checkpoint he waits for hours until he is picked up for work in the morning. The structure serves as a respite during these long waiting hours. Like Hamed, who builds the temporary structure over and over again, Ickowicz also returns to photograph the same structure, after the laborers are picked up for work and leave the area. By choosing to avoid photographing the soldiers and the workers, the turnstiles, fences, and the rest of the checkpoint’s hustle and bustle, he turns his gaze away from the permanent structures of the checkpoint routine to their reflections in the changing images of the temporary structure leaning against an olive tree.

In Saher Miari’s biography, construction preceded art. Miari was a construction worker before and during his art studies, and to this day he defines himself as an artist-builder. This was also the time when his identity as a Palestinian Arab resident of Israel was formed. The techniques, tools, and materials he previously used in his construction work now serve him in his art. The iron and concrete from which he built bomb shelters and residences are the materials with which he presents the personal and national conflict. Unhomely is a room-shaped structure made of layers of welded iron mesh used to reinforce concrete. The building’s future dwellers will not see the mesh, nor will they be aware of its presence behind white painted plastered walls. Miari lays it bare, concrete cubes hanging inside. While the welded iron mesh reveals the innards of the act of construction, usually concealed within the reinforcement and fortification of the Israeli house, the concrete cubes are reminiscent of the other houses, those emptied of their inhabitants, erased and forgotten.

Shahar Yahalom’s tomb sculptures are plaster molds that she creates over existing sculptures she collects, iconic images of animals, plants, and inanimate objects. After casting the plaster, Yahalom cuts the mold open. She removes the original sculpture, returns it to its owner, and reconnects the mold. The sculpture she ultimately exhibits is thus the empty grave of another sculpture. At times, the tomb is presented as is; at others, it functions as a model for the creation of a custom-made ceramic armor. In the current exhibition, Yahalom presents a ceramic armor of a garden doe sculpture from a plant nursery in Kafr Yasif, a pair of plaster gloves—a grave for her own hands, and a tomb of a plastic fir tree made in China, with a parrot perched on it. By burying the tree in a firm structure, Yahalom concurrently protects and restricts it, indicating its being an inanimate object, unable to grow. The very act introducing the limitations of the image also changes the power relations between animal, plant, and object. The sculptures are juxtaposed with handmade prints showing various states of living, death, burial, and embalming. Each print is a structure made of elements from the fauna, flora, and inanimate worlds, thus eliminating the accepted distinction between life and death, surrendering to existing hierarchies, undermining them, and setting out to reconstruct them.

Karmit Galili
Curator, Magasin III Jaffa, 2023


[1] See Moshe Ninio, “Radiant Non-Vision, or the Hazy Edges of Darkness: On the Six Cells Absalon Built for Himself,” cat. Absalon (Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2013), p. 205.
[2] See “I Can Say ‘No’ and Still Continue to Live,” lecture by Absalon at École Nationale Superieure des Beaux-arts, Paris, May 4, 1993, transcribed in: cat. Absalon (Berlin: KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2001), pp. 257–269, trans. Maike Meinert.


About the Artists

Absalon

Absalon (Meir Eshel) was born in 1964 in Ashdod. He lived and worked in Paris from 1987 until his untimely death in 1993. He studied at École nationale supérieure d’arts de Paris-Cergy; École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and Institute des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques, Paris. 

Absalon’s work comprises white architectural structures and models, video works, and drawings that explore living spaces, social structures, and seclusion. His most comprehensive project is ascetically minimalist interiors that he called Cellules (cells). 

Absalon’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Israel and abroad. Selected solo exhibitions include Kaye Pesblum Gallery, Helsinki (1992); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (1992); Musée Sainte-Croix, Poitiers (1990); Ika Brown Gallery, Jerusalem (1990); Contemporary Art Centre of Ivry – Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine (1989) as well as several posthumous exhibitions, dedicated to his works, including Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2013); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2012); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2010). In addition, Absalon participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art, Stockholm, (Cell no. 6) (2001); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1991); Tramway, Glasgow (1990); Foundation Cartier, Paris (1990). He also participated in Documenta IX, Kassel (1992); the Istanbul Biennial (1992); and the 45th Venice Biennale (1993).


Gaston Zvi Ickowicz

Gaston Zvi Ickowicz was born in 1974 in Buenos Aires and immigrated to Israel in 1980. He lives and works in Jerusalem. Ickowicz graduated from Musrara School of Photography, Jerusalem, and the Continuing Education Unit in the Arts, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem. He is a photography lecturer at Bezalel and at the Kibbutzim College, Tel Aviv.

Through photography and video, his works focus on the Israeli-Palestinian landscape and the interaction between man and landscape in a socio-political context.

Ickowicz’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Israel and abroad. Selected solo exhibitions include Hamidrasha Gallery, Tel Aviv (2022); Schechter Gallery, Tel Aviv (2021); Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art (2018); SMAC Berlin (2018); La Cite, Paris (2017); Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2016); Hezi Cohen Gallery, Tel Aviv (2015); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2010). In addition, he has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including the Center for Digital Art, Holon; The Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem; Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv; Ashdod Art Museum; Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod; Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; MARCO – Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome; Tel Aviv Museum of Art.


Saher Miari

Saher Miari was born in 1974 in Kufr Makr, where he lives and works. He acquired his BFA from the Faculty of Arts, Hamidrasha at Beit Berl Academic College, and his MFA from the University of Haifa. He is a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts, Hamidrasha, and initiates artistic projects in Arab communities in the north of Israel. 

Miari’s work focuses on issues that concern him as an artist-builder, such as home and masonry, construction and destruction, dismantling and assembly, wandering and migration, interior and exterior, as well as harsh working conditions referred to as “black labor.” His works reflect the identity and complexity of the Palestinian Arab society living in Israel, as well as his own identity. Through his art he expresses his worldview and criticizes the local reality, aspiring to change and build a new reality based on a stable and reliable foundation. 

Miari’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Israel. Selected solo exhibitions include the Lobby Art Space, Tel Aviv (2023); Kupferman Collection House, Kibbutz Lohamei Hageta’ot (2021); Hamidrasha Gallery, Tel Aviv (2020); Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery (2019); The Bezalel Photography Gallery, Jerusalem (2015); Cabri Gallery, Kibbutz Cabri (2012). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including Zumu Acre; Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv; Nulobaz Cooperative Art Space, Tel Aviv; Haifa Museum of Art; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Pyramida, Contemporary Art Center, Haifa; Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv; Binyamin Gallery, Tel Aviv; Beit Ha’Gefen, Haifa.


Shahar Yahalom

Shahar Yahalom was born in 1980 in Kibbutz Ein Dor. She lives and works in Tel Aviv-Yafo. She received a BFA from the Faculty of Arts, Hamidrasha at Beit Berl Academic College, and an MFA from Columbia University, New York. She is a lecturer at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem and the Faculty of Arts, Hamidrasha. 

Yahalom’s practice oscillates between sculpture and drawing, creating compositions that challenge the familiar hierarchical relationships between human, animal, plant, and object. 

Yahalom’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Israel and abroad. Selected solo exhibitions include Bat Yam Museum of Art (2022); GarageLab Gallery, Dusseldorf (2019); Odile Ouizeman Gallery, Paris (2019); Cabri Gallery, Kibbutz Cabri (2019); Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2018); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2011). In addition, Yahalom has participated in numerous group exhibitions including Petach Tikva Museum of Art; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Void Gallery, Derry; Zabludowicz Collection, London; Neiman Gallery, New York; Inside Out Art Museum, Beijing; Rutgers Gallery, New Brunswick; The Armory Show, New York; Aran Cravey Gallery, Los Angeles.


About Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art
The museum is one of Europe’s leading institutions for contemporary art. Magasin III believes in the ability of art to challenge and inspire people and society. Since 1987, Magasin III has presented world-class exhibitions and continues to fortify its collection, which holds works by leading artists. Recent highlight exhibitions in Stockholm include Tom Friedman, Katarina Grosse, Tony Oursler, Mika Rottenberg, Ai Weiwei, Andrea Zittel and Gunnel Wåhlstrand.

About Magasin III Jaffa
Magasin III Jaffa is an exhibition space, a permanent satellite established by Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art from Stockholm, Sweden. Magasin III Jaffa’s diverse program features both local and international contemporary artists. Since opening at 2018, Magasin III Jaffa has presented solo exhibitions by Haim Steinbach, Shiela Hicks, Cosima von Bonin, Tal R, Maya Attoun, Polly Apfelbaum and David Adika. The space is located on 34 Olei Zion, in a residential neighborhood rich with history and cultural diversity, that borders with Jaffa’s famous flea market. Magasin III Jaffa’s unique architecture enables passersby to view the exhibitions from the outside, day and night.

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