Tsibi Geva has been selected to present Archeology of the Present in the Israeli Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Geva, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, is one of Israel’s most prominent and influential artists and has exhibited extensively in major exhibitions across Israel, the USA, and Europe. Geva works in diverse media, his work often pushing beyond its physical limits into unique large-scale, site-specific installations.
Archeology of the Present will extend over the exterior of the pavilion as well as through its interior, destabilizing familiar divisions between inside and outside, functional and the representational, high and low, abandoned, found, and manipulated elements. It will encompass formal and thematic elements characteristic of Geva’s work throughout his career and will present paintings alongside sculptural installations and abandoned and manipulated objects, abolishing hierarchical distinctions between artistic mediums and structures. In doing so, the project will give expression to Geva’s ongoing concern with elements related to the notion of ‘home’ – including terrazzo tiles, windows, shutters, lattices, and cement blocks; elements which exist as fragments of what once was, or could in principle constitute, a home. The project will raise self-reflexive artistic concerns and epistemological questions, as well as political and cultural questions of locality and immigration, hybrid identity, existential anxiety and existence in an age of instability.
The physical layout of the project will create sharp transitions between experiences of blockage, discomfort, or spatial ambiguity and intimate, poetic moments, so that fragility and crudeness, lyricism and violence, are inextricably intertwined.
Geva’s work contains numerous layers of significance shaped by processes of figuration and abstraction, revelation and concealment. The question of painting in particular, and of the art object in general, is present in his work alongside political and cultural questions, which simultaneously camouflage and enhance one another. Employing disruption and displacement, repetition and accumulation, Geva makes hybrid works that open up new discursive channels.
Geva’s long-term engagement with the stratified structure of identity, and Archeology of the Present in particular, will offer an opportunity to explore this notion within the wider narrative of nationality as proposed by the Venice Biennale. In a year when curator Okwui Enwezor proposes to focus on “All the World’s Futures,” Geva’s site-specific, all-encompassing installation may also be read with regard to the current state of humanity and the world.
:: Video interview to Tsibi Geva with captures of the making of the Pavilion, Courtesy of Artis Contemporary
:: Short Video interview with Tsibi Geva - ~~RTV 4, translation attached.