Boaz Kaiz­man: Green Area

Septem­ber 3, 2021 – Jan­uary 16, 2022

On the an­niver­sary year “2021: 1700 Years of Jew­ish Life in Ger­many,” the Mu­se­um Lud­wig has in­vit­ed the artist Boaz Kaiz­man (born in 1962 in Tel Aviv, has lived and worked in Cologne since 1993) to de­vel­op a new work. The video in­s­tal­la­tion Grü­nan­lage (Green Area) com­pris­es six­teen new videos in sev­en large pro­jec­tions across two walls. It will be pre­sent­ed in the large ex­hi­bi­tion hall at the Mu­se­um Lud­wig span­n­ing around 200 square me­ters.

Se­lect­ed pas­sages from in­di­vi­d­u­al videos can be heard in the ex­hi­bi­tion space; at the same time, vis­i­tors can lis­ten to the videos us­ing head­phones. Land­s­capes rep­re­sent a com­mon vi­su­al el­e­ment be­tween the works. Most of th­ese are green ar­eas in Cologne, places of func­tio­n­al and ur­ban­ized na­ture, and thus re­main in­defi­nite, be­tween ur­ban and na­t­u­ral space.

Kaiz­man bas­es his in­s­tal­la­tion on his own ex­pe­ri­ence. He is shown do­ing ev­ery­day ac­tiv­i­ties—on the way to his stu­dio, pre­par­ing meals, or jog­ging in the park. He al­so re­flects on the artis­tic pro­cess by re­ca­pi­t­u­lat­ing his pre­vi­ous work from the the­mat­ic per­spec­tive of Jew­ish life in the past and pre­sent and in­te­grat­ing it in­to the in­s­tal­la­tion in the form of short quo­ta­tions. Thus, in a me­di­at­ed way, Jew­ish life in Ger­many be­comes the self-evi­dent cen­ter of Kaiz­man’s new work with­out be­ing its ex­plic­it top­ic. With his work, Kaiz­man in­quires in­to the pos­si­bil­i­ty of me­m­o­ry, the pres­ence of his­to­ry, and the form in which it is in­scribed in life sto­ries.

Peo­ple as varied as the philo­so­pher Han­nah Arendt, the com­pos­er Yosef Tal, the art his­to­rian David Gal­loway, and the ac­tor Dov Glick­man ap­pear in the in­di­vi­d­u­al videos. Pie­ces of mu­sic with an Greek and Sar­di­nian as­pect, a ro­man­tic folk song, and klezmer mu­sic are part of the work. Another piece played in the video by hand werk, an ensem­ble for new mu­sic, turns out to be a po­em by Kaiz­man. The artist trans­formed it in­to mu­sic us­ing a text-to-speech pro­gram and MI­DI soft­ware, which con­verts dig­i­tal sig­nals in­to sounds. Yet the dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion is not an end in it­self for the artist. Rather, it shows that lan­guage is the ba­sis of all arts, in­clud­ing mu­sic and the vi­su­al arts.

The fo­cus of the in­s­tal­la­tion on lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture will be ex­pand­ed thanks to a part­n­er­ship with Ger­ma­nia Ju­dai­ca, a lo­cal li­brary on the his­to­ry of Ju­daism in Ger­many. At the in­vi­ta­tion of Boaz Kaiz­man, An­dreas Kilch­er, a lit­erary and cul­tu­r­al studies pro­fes­sor at ETH Zurich, se­lect­ed 1700 books of Ger­man-lan­guage Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture from Ger­ma­nia Ju­dai­ca. As an in­de­pen­dent el­e­ment of the ex­hi­bi­tion, th­ese are lo­cat­ed across from the video in­s­tal­la­tion on three shelves from the li­brary, along with ta­bles and chairs. Thus, Ger­ma­nia Ju­dai­ca, the largest Eu­ro­pean li­brary on the his­to­ry and cul­ture of Ger­man-lan­guage Ju­daism, will have a branch at the Mu­se­um Lud­wig for four months. With his ho­mage to the li­brary, Kaiz­man not on­ly points to the im­por­tance of writ­ing and books in Jew­ish cul­ture; he sees him­self as part of this tra­di­tion with his vi­su­al, lit­erary, and mu­si­cal work.

This ex­hi­bi­tion is part of a se­ries of events mark­ing 1700 years of Jew­ish life in Ger­many or­ganized by the as­so­ci­a­tion 321–2021: 1700 Jahre jüdisch­es Leben in Deutsch­land e.V. It is sup­port­ed by #2021JLID – Jüdisch­es Leben in Deutsch­land e.V. with fund­ing from the Ger­man Fed­er­al Min­istry of the In­te­ri­or, Build­ing and Com­mu­ni­ty. The pre­sen­ta­tion by the Ger­ma­nia Ju­dai­ca in the ex­hi­bi­tion was made pos­si­ble by the Ge­sellschaft für Mod­erne Kunst am Mu­se­um Lud­wig in Cologne.

Cu­ra­tor: Bar­bara En­gel­bach

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