“Politics of Love: Long Distance Relationship” is a special issue for Tohu Magazine, using Etel Adnan’s text The Cost for Love We Are Not Willing to Pay as a compass in the troubled times of COVID-19.
In an essay written for Tohu’s special issue, Saadi Nikro writes about souls and breathing, technology, migration, and long-distance relationships. He discusses the work of two Beirut natives – artist Etel Adnan and filmmaker Ahmad Ghossein, and writes about how technologies help us conduct relationships over distances in space and time.
Love Letters is an exchange of letters and poems between two collaborators, work partners but also good friends who used to share the same city but departed due to personal decisions. As the co-founders of Collective Çukurcuma, Mine Kaplangi and Naz Cuguoglu have been experimenting on collective writing in recent years. For this special issue they write Love Letters to one another.
"An ancient ritual for women", "a longing for true love", "a journey into a cave", Rula Khoury reflects on Saodat Ismailova's work Chilltan (2022), an immersive work in the basement of the Fridericianum, part of Documenta 15
Khalil Barakat has written an essay about love for Tohu's special issue: about the love affairs of the French novelist Marguerite Duras, his love for her, love between men, and love in the shadow of the pandemic.
Michal B. Ron follows an archival treasure of Hannah Bruckmüller's. She starts with Marcel Broodthaers’ contribution to James Lee Byars’s World Question Center, where a question about love is calling from a distance of time, and creates a new questionnaire that asks for responses: what do you do for the sake of love?
In Raeda Saadeh’s photography series “Great Masters,” the artist challenges four well-known Western paintings. Aida Nasrallah writes about the works of one of the most interesting Palestinian artists, delineating the way Saadeh makes space for herself as an artist and a Palestinian woman who voices her political protests.
The government's decision to remove telephone booths from the public sphere in Israel has led Hagai Ulrich to think about new possibilities for freedom offered by Sophie Calle in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations.
Rotem Rozental looks at the work of artists Zoya Cherkassky, Yevgeniy Fiks, Katia Grokhovsky, and Jenny Yurshansky, raising questions about the existence of a Soviet-Jewish narrative and offering new insights into the culture that has shaped daily life in the Soviet Union, the Soviet-Jewish narrative, and the possibility of the existence of such a narrative.
A new essay in a series of reviews of books about art writing by Matt Hanson. This time, we delve into the writings of the New Yorker’s senior art critic, Peter Schjeldahl, who "thought of prehistoric cave paintings as contemporary an art as the latest politically-allied video installation in midtown Manhattan."
In 2017, Zehra Doğan was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison for “terrorist propaganda and inciting hatred.” An artist and journalist, it was Doğan’s painting of the city of Nusaybin in ruins, adorned by Turkish flags, that led to her arrest. Charlotte Bleicher writes about the artist’s prison works, Hidden Drawings, which have been introduced to the public in the last Berlin Biennial.
Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė look into the emotion of fear interspersing a number of text excerpts they collected throughout their Young Girl Reading Group sessions with behind-the-scenes photography from the making of their recent video piece Mouthless Part I.
Why is there so much disappointment around us? How might one explain disappointment? What is the political nature of disappointment? Artūras Tereškinas writes for Tohu Magazine about the notion of disappointment, following ''Bjaurūs jausmai'', his recently-published book, a collaboration with Adomas Danusevičius about ugly/negative feelings.
How can the constant bombardment of shock and emergency and suffering in our world be harnessed as a source of power and collective strength? How do we act and unite in a world that constantly isolates and shocks us, destroying the very ecological and social systems in which we survive? Post Brothers examines how dissociated social interactions are translated into value and yellow coal channels emotions as a form of power.
What does it mean to make art about real feelings, and what does it mean to view it? What happens when integrity is divorced from sincerity? Markus Thor Andresson and Chen Tamir explore how artists reintroduce emotion and concepts like sincerity, integrity, humiliation and the pathetic in contemporary art.
Yates Norton and David Ruebain discuss interdependency, relationships and profound connections challenging the division arising from oppression and individualism.
Wisam Gibran offers a broad reading of the life work of the late Palestinian artist Ayman Safiah. He examines how the body becomes a site speaking the language of freedom, and dance disrupts all that is familiar with its courageous details; he delves into the issue of freedom, gauging the boundaries of the self and its collapse.
Can artistic strategies of re-appropriation and remediation perform a de-orientalization of an imperialist image? Margherita Foresti writes about Heba Y. Amin’s rendering of a 19th-century photograph of an Egyptian harem in tapestry.
Why is black skin perceived as a threat in American public spaces? How come a 17-year-old boy is portrayed in the American media as a thug? And how do a sandwich, a bible, or a bunch of keys get identified wrongfully as weapons and lead to the shooting of innocent passersby? Rotem Rozental writes about artist Cara Levine's project "This Is Not a Gun," which reacts to dozens of incidents of police shooting at citizens – mostly black men – as a result of misidentification.
The musician, artist, and poet Wisam Gibran suggests a socio-cultural reading of four works by the Palestinian artist Hannan Abu-Hussein's - Agina (Dough), Pouring the Oil, Bukjia (Bundle), In Between the Destruction of the Father - as representatives of inner worlds reflecting art's association with the cycle of life and death, movement and stillness, the sacred and the forbidden, the presence and the absence.
Following a number of recent books by and on John Berger, coinciding with the renowned critic’s passing away in 2017, Norman Saadi Nikro dives into some of Berger’s writings and drawings. He explores the transformational impulses driving Berger’s relational, molecular, and constellation-like approach, and its relevance to today’s world in crisis.
Meital Katz-Minerbo visited the Dublin retrospective exhibition of the work of Derek Jarman, a well-known queer filmmaker, visual artist, AIDS activist, and gardener, who had been marginalized for being openly gay and HIV positive. Following the stirring event, she recalls her first encounter with Jarman's work, five years ago, and her visit to the garden he has tended in his home in Dungeness, in the county of Kent, England.
Painting, prediction, life drive and death drive, devastation, mourning, and creation. Psychoanalyst Dr. Merav Roth offers a succession of thoughts, insights, and personal associations following a series of meetings with artist Tsibi Geva, on the occasion of his exhibition "Where I'm Coming From," which has recently been presented at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art.
A one-night event in Berlin this February brought Charlotte Bleicher to ruminate about the relationship between two cities - Beirut and Berlin. She writes about processes of cultural loss taking place in both cities, and about artistic acts of defiance against this disappearance.
Palestinian visual artist Kamal Boullata (b. 1942, Jerusalem) departed this world on August 6, 2019, from his exile in Berlin at the age of seventy-seven. He leaves behind a formidable artistic legacy, which has made him stand out in the field of criticism and artistic production within the Palestinian and Arab art scene. In this article, Moroccan artist and poet Samir Salmi tries to present a comprehensive portrait of a multi-faceted artist, and reveals the strengths of his research, creative and critical work.
How is Palestine represented in contemporary art, and how do Palestinian artists deal with the notions of memory and the past? Larissa Sansour raises in her work many questions concerning ideas of sanctity, homeland, and memory, in a manner that helps turning them into an illusion. In an analytical review and an in-depth critical gaze, scholar Housni Alkhateeb Shehada presents a broad picture of the place, the dialogue, the memory, and the conflict the figures are experiencing in the work recently presented by Sansour, in the Danish Pavilion, at the 58th Venice Biennale.
In her on-going multidisciplinary project, "The Road to Ein Harod," Efrat Galnoor tracks the journey undertaken by Raffi, the protagonist of Amos Kenan's novel with the same title. In a series of exhibitions and events, she raises political questions about borders and freedom of movement, and looks reflexively at the way space is constructed by way of stains – an act that questions not only what you look at, but how.
Among many tragic examples, the murder of South Sudanese national, Lost Boy and Canadian citizen Richard Lokeya, and the abduction of journalist Clement Lochio Lomornana (whose whereabouts are still unknown) by state actors, testify to the life-threatening risks implied in refugee justice work in South Sudan today.
In what ways can an archive be regarded as an anarchic practice of collection and circulation? Following his visit to the exhibition Unboxing Photographs: Arbeiten im Fotoarchiv, Saadi Nikro raises some thoughts about the way interventionist archivists, artists, and photographic practitioners work with photographic archives.
“An author who had taken testosterone as a drug in a philosophical self-experiment that she documented in a book - it shook me up so much that it wouldn't leave my mind." Michal B. Ron and Hannah M. Bruckmüller discuss naming, sexuality, fables, giving birth and giving death, in response to Paul B. Preciado’s Testo Junkie.
The show "Stolen Arab Art" that recently opened in Tel Aviv is tainted by exploitation, ignorance, incoherence, and impersonation. The organizers blatantly disregard the will of the chosen artists not to show their work in Israel. The members of Tohu's editorial board object to the patronizing act perpetrated under the guise of enlightenment and dialogue.
A mother screams as her baby is wrenched from her arms; a sex fest featuring Canada's founding fathers and various forest animals; and Miss Chief – a powerful, sexy, transgender indigenous figure in traditional attire, beads, and feathers. Liora Belford visits "Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience," the travelling exhibition of the work of artist Kent Monkman, who wonders where are the painters who have documented the hunger, the poverty, the pain, and the annihilation of a whole culture.
Visiting the Ameen Rihani Museum in Freike, Lebanon has started Matt Hanson on a path to trace the Hebrew translation of the well-known author’s Kings of Arabia, which came out only two years after the first Arabic edition. What were the motivations behind this translation and how did its impact evolve over the years?
Bar Yerushalmi visits the exhibition of the artists' collective Slavs and Tatars at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius and joins them on a magic carpet ride through the demographic, linguistic, religious, and social realms of the kingdom of Eurasia.
Can it be that Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations is not a book, but a restless musical album? Michal Sapir outlines a path for reading and interpreting the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein that meanders through music, literature, wooly clouds, crossroads, sea horses and ethics.
As the art schools' graduation exhibition season is winding down, Tali Tamir revisits the work of two veteran artists – Dov Or-Ner and Dov Heller – and wonders why the radicalism that has bound the avant-garde to social values, crossed various lines, and melted away conceptual and geographical borders found no place in the major museums.
Michal Na'aman writes for Tohu about fasting and abstinence, about anorexia, and about the Original Sin, guilt, and redemption in Kafka's writings
The third and final part of the essay by Noah Simblist focuses on Akram Zaatari’s use of dialogical exchange as an artistic strategy. While completely different in their dynamics and outcomes, Zaatari’s conversations with both Hagai Tamir and Avi Mograbi, he argues, reveal different degrees of both personal and political engagement and, at the same time, various forms of antagonism and refusal.
In the second part of his essay analysing Akram Zaatari’s 2013 work “Letter to a Refusing Pilot,” Noah Simblist addresses a previous work by the artist that involved a conversation with filmmaker Avi Mograbi. Simblist is reading this work through the prism of dialogical exchange, referencing Grant Kester’s definition of “dialogical art,” as well as Ella Shohat’s observations on the identity politics of Mizrachi or Arab Jews.
Hagai Ulrich on the homonyms in Yossi Breger's last show, on the relations between single words and the continuum, and on the idea of the abstract whole.
In the summer of 1982, during Israel’s incursion into Southern Lebanon, a story swirled around the port town of Saida that acquired mythological flourishes: One of the Israeli fighter jets that were sent to the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Ain El-Helweh, aborted its mission to bomb a school building, its pilot dropping the bombs into the sea instead. In a text for Tohu Magazine, that will be published in 3 parts, Noah Simblist dives into Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari’s work, Letter to a Refusing Pilot, instigated by this true story.
Merhav Yeshoron writes about the words in Yossi Breger's last solo show, and those absent from it.
What does the "con" in con-temporary art suggest? Saadi Nikro discusses the theme of con-temporaneity through the works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, MUVART and Walid Raad
The Dome of the Rock – that golden, volatile rock of contention – is at the center of an exhibition at the Bezalel Photography Gallery. Noa Hazan writes for Tohu about the exhibition and about the visual research that has preceded it, which involved studying hundreds of photographs of the site from the last 150 years, and suggested new terms for looking at its visual representations.
In a long overdue encounter with Hilla and Bernd Becher’s photographic grid Yair Barak discovered that his intellectual, rigorous experience as a viewer of the works has become spiritual experience. Why has that happened, and is the genomic map of Israeli typological photography indeed close to its German counterpart, or rather the American one? Reflections and insights following the departure of Hilla Becher.
“We are art terrorists,” announced Katō Yasuhiro, who headed the Zero Dimension group in the 1960s. The declaration accurately represented the Zeitgeist and the volatile atmosphere opposite the political establishment, as well as the art establishment, which has pervaded Japan in the 1960s. Ayelet Zohar on an exhibition surveying the avant-garde in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan during that period.
The Agro-Art exhibition, curated by Tali Tamir at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art earlier this year, explored local agriculture’s representation in contemporary art. This essay expands the discussion on the difference between gardening and agriculture and focuses on the relationships between agriculture, territory, and biography.