Israeli Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale
“Tsibi Geva | Archeology of the Present”
Artist: Tsibi Geva
Curator: Hadas Maor
Commissioner: Arad Turgem, Michael Gov
Venue: Pavilion at Giardini
The kibbutz of Ein Shemer, located roughly midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa, was established in 1927 by several dozen young Polish Jews; among these settlers were the parents of prominent Israeli painter Tsibi Geva. After helping build the kibbutz, Geva’s father became a prolific architect in post-war Israel, with buildings and design work dotted throughout the country. However, according to Geva, “It was only after [my father] died in 1993, or even later, that I acknowledged the significance of architectural influences on my work.”
This architectural legacy permeates Geva’s body of work on view in the Israeli Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale: paintings featuring terrazzo floor tiles, chain-link, windows, and latticework, and a modification of the pavilion structure using found and repurposed building materials, like tires and cement blocks, that extends from interior to exterior surfaces, troubling the exclusionary qualities of the physical wall.
By intervening directly into the structure of the gallery, Geva similarly erodes the comfortable categories governing the traditional experience of art—“inside” and “outside,” “artwork” and “gallery wall.” The resulting space, titled “Archeology of the Present,” concentrates the many ambiguities—political, formal, existential, spatial—present in Geva’s oeuvre into a singular locus of visual stimulation.