Metropolis M, The Netherlands, Wednesday15 December 2010

Bridge Builders
Jaring Dürst Britt

English translation: Heleen Schröder

With the Israeli/Dutch artist duo Gil & Moti’s In the Future Everyone Should Love Everyone, Metis NL gallery is showing a different kind of multicultural engagement. On entrance, one is confronted with a dozen newspaper pages with articles about terrorism, labour migration, the PVV [Dutch Party for Freedom] and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On each page, two hearts have been drawn in ketchup and a bread roll has been attached. During the opening, the duo fried hamburgers on the spot (both a Kosher and an Halal version) which they served, with ketchup hearts, to the audience. The simultaneous preparation of meat according to the dietary rules of two religions which might be brought into dialogue, playing with the capitalist connotation of the hamburger, and serving the food themselves; it could be seen as a pars pro toto for the duo's participatory approach to art.
At the back of the gallery, a slide show is projected onto a cardboard ‘wall’ – a somewhat lame reference to the controversial West Bank barrier – showing Gil & Moti taking a Swedish curator around Israel. Photo's alternate with short diary entries. Among other things, they visit an exhibition of painters form the 1950’s, adept at depicting pavers, bricklayers and farm hands: laborers who were indispensable at the time for building the new state Israel. Just before you ask yourself whether you are looking at an average holiday report, the slide show changes tone, with snapshots of contemporary elder care workers, gardeners and au pairs. They the are cheap laborers form China, Pakistan and Sudan, who keep society going in wealthy states in 2010. In this way, Israeli art history, twenty-first century labour migration and contemporary politics are quietly interwoven. The photo series ends on an almost surreal note when, completely unexpectedly, the polar opposite of the bridge building duo appears across the street: Geert Wilders, including his security entourage.
The triangle of art-labour-cultural interaction is also present in the exhibited paintings. Queen Beatrix is portrayed twice, flanked by quotations related to tolerance from her recent Christmas addresses. In both cases, a depiction unmistakably evoking Andy Warhol’s portrait occupies the left side of the image. Another canvas, resting on two pairs of shoes, depicting a walkman wearer resting on a sofa and a black cleaner vacuum cleaning the curtains, is even more overloaded with art historical references: Manet, Van Gogh, Picasso and even Martha Rosler. With their shaky and naive touch the painting are sometimes reminiscent of Erik van Lieshout, with whom they also share an interest in cultural (mis)communication. But while Van Lieshout ruthlessly puts his finger on the sore spot, Gil & Moti attempt, with unwavering commitment, to massage away the misery.

Gil & Moti, In the Future Everyone Should Love Everyone
Until 24 December 2010

 

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Turun Sanomat- Pia Parkkinen
Puntkomma- Hugo Bongers
de Volkskrant- Jeanne Prisser
derStandard- Wiltrud Hackl
Stavanger Aftenblad- Trond Bogen
Politiken- Sara Maria Glanowski
NRC- Manon Braat
Kunstbeeld - Wim van der Beek
de Volkskrant- Marina de Vries
New York Arts Magazine- Rodrigo Tisi