The political and social events that are evolving around the permanent and commemorated landscapes of Israel provide the dramatic and topical quality of this exhibition. A series of natural personified sculptures resemble biblical characters – imaginary installations that combine natural materials with renewed fantastic and imaginary scenes. The exhibition deals with the topic of commemoration, both on a personal and on a national level, by practical use of symbols and motifs that can be interpreted differently by each and every viewer.
Avi Sperber is an Israeli artist who knows the meaning of the environment. As a citizen, he is involved in what is happening here, he tries to uncover and warn about what will happen to the future of this country if we do not learn to preserve its uniqueness. He is influenced by the words of the poet Moshe Dor, who deals with questions of past and future. “Insane Homeland –infinitely you are woven inside me, crazy in the grass, the tree, in a storm of pebbles attack me, sun to explode…” – his works depicting stalks of wheat (Shibolet in Hebrew) hint at the double meaning of the word “endurance” (Sibolet in Hebrew) the name of one of the works in the exhibition. “Gilead captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked him, “Are you one of Ephraim?” If he replied, “No,” they said, “All right, say ‘Shibboleth.’ “He said, “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce the word correctly…”. This quote from the Book of Judges (12:5-6) was the inspiration for this installation which includes stable stalks of wheat that send their angled, headless bars towards the image of shattered wheat lying on the floor.
Avi Sperber’s sculptural installations properly blend in with the best of Israeli sculpture, which has become sort of a commemoration of social events. Throughout the history and the multitude of changing events, many monumental sculptures have been erected as symbolic memorials. Among them the Lion of Tel Hai, Mordechai Anlivitch’s sculpture in Yad Mordachai, Dov Gruner’s sculpture in Ramat Gan, Danzinger’s “Nimrod” or Motti Mizrachi’s “Peace Rider”. These sculptures symbolize the Jewish people’s struggle for independence. Avi Sperber’s sculptures can be interpreted as a social allegory to today’s fragile social condition and the need to be aware of what is going on around us.
Doron Polack, Curator