Sick Fireflies and Lightnings in Jars

Curator: Noam Segal

01/08/2019 - 28/12/2019

"If I could store lightnings in jars, I'd give them to sick fireflies to light their way."

this quotation by an anonymous Internet poet, captures the spirit of the exhibition: the ability to observe a small collection, at times esoteric or eclectic, and gain a wealth of insights that arise from that concentrated multiplicity. The range of gazes and angles emerging from the random collections featured in the exhibition allows observation of common spheres of life, thereby exposing something about the modes of hierarchy-making and evaluation structuring our gaze. Just as a sick firefly may regain its glow, so a captive gaze, automatic judgment, or a prejudice may dissolve as it is exposed to the diverse possibilities embodied in multiplicity.
Collections, clusters, corpuses usually comprise a group of objects of one kind: a bunch of lightnings, a box of spinning tops, a notebook of dreams. The clusters in the exhibition, however, do not inquire about collecting as such; rather, they are interested in the outlooks resulting from their juxtaposed display and the stratified, multiple gaze they generate.
Collections are not archives. They do not seek exclusivity, or present themselves as the voice of truth. They are not authoritative, but rather open and flexible. Some may be regarded as corpora—a word which seeks a physical context (corpus) for a given cluster of things. The corpus absorbs a measure of plasticity by virtue of its existence as a human testimony, rather than a field of knowledge that claims objectivity.
The small, unique collections showcased in the current exhibition introduce a multiplicity of perspectives to the spectator which span diverse fields: different perceptions of time in artworks suggest the possibility of an alternative temporality; processes of political imagination make it possible to contemplate alternative social structures; shattering ethnographic display conventions challenges the attribution of fixed functions to given objects or ethnic groups; and deviation from fixations of self-perception paves the way to imagine possible futures, whether private or collective.
The exhibition also conceals lightning in a jar, hosting "G/host"—an exhibition within an exhibition which presents ghosts of Israeli artworks from the 1970s. MFA students at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design created tributary works inspired by works from the Levin Collection of Israeli Art, and various writers responded to these pieces with accompanying texts. The result is a presentation of a collection of Israeli art through its non-presentation
The works are courtesy of the artists, unless indicated otherwise.