Turun Sanomat , Finland, Wednesday 3 June 2015

They are like two peas in a pod
Pia Parkkinen

English translation: Raila Tapio

This is confusing. Gil & Moti, who have arrived from the Netherlands in Finland, look so alike that it’s difficult to recognize which one is which. Even the hairline does not help. That also is starting from the same point.
• We are often asked if we are twins, Gil chuckles.
But no, these men are not related. Yet they look almost identical.
They wear the same kind of clothes, get their hair cut in the same style and rely on the same optician.
They also share everything and do everything together. Gil & Moti possess only one wallet, one phone and one key. It feels like they are one and only person.
• It is a matter of communication. We are eccentric and we attract eccentric people. We provide them a platform where they can perform, Gil says.
• Originally, Gil & Moti are from Israel but nowadays they are Dutch citizens. Ever since they met in an art school in Jerusalem, they have been working and living together. In fact, their whole life seems to be a comprehensive performance, which questions what identity is and of which ingredients individuality consists of.
In Turku, Gil & Moti are trying to connect with local Muslims. The project is a continuation of the video work In your Shoes, which is going to be shown in the Turku Biennial. The video was made two years ago in Copenhagen. For the video Gil & Moti met members of Danish Islamic community and talked about religion with them.
The Project began from a fear the Israeli Jewish gay couple felt towards the religion, but as the work proceeded, the fear disappeared. For their great surprise, this happened mutually.
• It is sad that Islamophobia is still a relevant subject in this world we live, says Moti.
• Even though all the prerequisites for a fruitful dialogue exist, Gil continues.
According to the artists, their own fears towards religion in general is to do with sets of rules; religions are full of them, whereas art is based on freedom and lack of limits.
Different kinds of minorities and rambunctious people of society are close to Gil & Moti’s heart(s). They believe that art can change the world, if slowly and step by step. Their philosophy of life is clear: When you give something from yourself, you get something in return.
• We want to turn things the other way around, give a voice to the weak, empower them, Gil says.
As a gay couple, they represent the minorities, the “other”. Sexual orientation was one of the reasons why they once moved out of Israel to Holland.
• The atmosphere in Israel was politically suppressive. We felt that we as artists were isolated, Moti says
• It is not accepted to think differently in Israel. It’s not a polofonic society, Gil continues.
Yet they do not give up. The material of their new film, of which they filmed on the both sides of the concrete walls of their former home country, is going to be edited soon. The work is supposed to be shown on both the Israeli and the Palestinian side.
It seems that a dialogue, and creating one, seems to be at the heart of their art. And their identical looks isn’t too bad either. It has made possible all the different conversations with all kinds of people.
• It’s important to be open for various people, not just for the regular art spectators , Gil says.
Indeed. Gil & Moti have also given a voice for a Dutch cleaner and for a Norwegian alcoholic guy, who got sober with the help of them. Who says that art can’t change the world?

 

 

Publications
Selected Essays
Selected Reviews
Puntkomma- Hugo Bongers
de Volkskrant- Jeanne Prisser
derStandard- Wiltrud Hackl
Stavanger Aftenblad- Trond Bogen
Politiken- Sara Maria Glanowski
Metropolis M- Jaring Dürst Britt
NRC- Manon Braat
Kunstbeeld - Wim van der Beek
de Volkskrant- Marina de Vries
New York Arts Magazine- Rodrigo Tisi