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Agro-Art

Contemporary Agriculture in Israeli Art. Curator: Tali Tamir 19.2.2015 - 13.6.2015

Thanks: Liron Alroy-Michaeli (Yoga), Adva Chalupovitch (dance), Noa Rosen, Yuval Erez, Keren Ben-Raphael, Ronen Nagel
(Sound Around), Racheli Ben-David, Shoshi Ciechanover,
the children‘s choir, the Ein Iron community

Agriculture: A Play in Five Acts begins with the curtain raising: the cloth and nylon sheets covering the greenhouse openings are rolled up, exposing the scene of action: the agricultural greenhouse. Ever since Avital Geva’s greenhouse was exhibited at the Venice Biennale (1993) and received a symbolic status as a space which connects agriculture with art and education, many growth cycles have passed. Sharon Glazberg’s “agricultural play” introduces a different type of greenhouse: it is a site populated by foreign Thai workers, on whose working hands today’s Israeli agriculture depends. Glazberg’s greenhouse, set up in the space of Petach Tikva Museum of Art, offers a backdrop for the drama of Israeli agriculture as a whole: from the foreign workers’ decorated farm-cart, which joins the traditional festive first-fruit procession in the moshav, to the watermelon scarecrows, dropping after being pelted by potatoes left in the field. The large leek flowers that have bloomed since the greens were not picked in season for lack of financial profitability, decorate the visages of the celebrating workers.
Glazberg intentionally avoids direct exposure of the workers’ living quarters or a disturbing specification of their rights. Instead of using them as a social protest poster to clean her conscience, she initiates and creates joint acts of fellowship in which some of the members of her moshav, her own children and their classmates, as well as the artist herself take part. “The play” is thus gradually devised; its protagonists are not only foreign workers, children, and moshav members, but also the spectacular field vistas, a pouring rain, pomegranate trees, and surrealistic images which open the agricultural setting to the experience of primal nature. Shavuot (Pentecost) procession—the ultimate ceremony of traditional Israeli agriculture—has assimilated the Thai workers, and transformed them into the new Zionists.


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Sharon Glazberg, Agriculture: A Play in Five Acts (Prologue, Leek Field, First-Fruit Parade, Potatoes, Scarecrows, Hide and Seek), 2013-15, Multi-channel video installation, 27 min Videography: Uri Ackerman, Damien Dufresne, Sharon Glazberg Editing: Hinda Weiss; music: David Toop Space simulation: Eran Shimshovitz Sound design: Nati Taub; greenhouses: ProfitAgro Ltd.

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