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The Women of This Place, 2014
Installation and video,
Group exhibition: Real-A-State, Art Space Jaffa
This installation was a part of a group show named Real-A-State, which took place in a gallery located in Jaffa’s Old City. The gallery, nowadays a property of the art collectors' family Tirouche, was in the past the home of a Palestinian family who fled to Nablus during the Israeli military conquest of Jaffa, followed the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948. The exhibition discusses the power of images and facades to exclude and preserve historical truths and ideologies. (For further reading scroll down)
As a response to the formation of Jaffa from an Arab city to a Jewish oriented one (in particular its historical and touristic area where the gallery is located in) Katz took over one of the gallery’s rooms and constructed a hostel bedroom in it, owned by the imaginary organization ‘Women of Zion’. The fictional organization’s target was to espouse and encourage a rise in the Jewish birthrate in the city. The bedroom installation incorporated objects which indicated the presence of a few occasional female residents, and a docu-fiction video work supporting its story.
The installation appeared at first as a clean hostel-like bedroom, but a closer look revealed further details regarding its residents. A few postcards tucked in the wall panel, displayed blunt images of women expressing bodily dedication, attraction and identification with Israeli national symbols. This series of postcards was a montage of original photos and drawings, inspired or combined with found images - originally posted on Facebook by women who sent supporting messages to IDF combatants written on their exposed bodies. Katz remain affectionate towards the women she invented, but exist somewhere. Her relations to them based on their shared destiny of being women suffering from a sexist oppression that prospers in the Israeli militaristic society.
By re-inhabiting the historically charged room Katz asked to link two time points, and invited the visitors to contemplate their own position as holders of a certain nationality, possessors of a certain gender perception, supporters of a certain party and so on. The realm of installation allows performance as a way of being since it evokes a hyper-realization sensitivity to the objects and subjects within it. Inspired by the phenomenological-ethical theory of the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, which regards the encounter of an existing mind with its existent figure, I believe that this confrontation of one with its present social self, is the sense the installation and performance art aspire to maintain.