Tsibi Geva: Archeology of the Present, Israeli Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2015

Tsibi Geva presents Archeology of the Present in the Israeli Pavilion at The 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Geva, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, is one of Israel’s most prominent and influential artists and has exhibited extensively in major exhibitions across Israel, America, and Europe.

His show Archeology of the Present extends outside the pavilion as well as through its interior, destabilising familiar divisions between inside and outdoors, functional and the representational, high and low, abandoned, found, and manipulated elements. It encompasses formal and thematic elements characteristic of Geva’s work throughout his career.

The exhibition presents paintings alongside sculptural installations and abandoned and manipulated objects, abolishing hierarchical distinctions between artistic mediums and structures. In doing so, the project is giving an expression to Geva’s ongoing concern with elements related to the notion of ‘home’ – including terrazzo tiles, windows, shutters, lattices, and cement blocks; elements which exist as fragments of what once was, or could in principle constitute, a home. Tseba’s work poses self-reflexive artistic concerns and epistemological questions, as well as political and cultural interrogations about locality and immigration, hybrid identity, existential anxiety and existence in an age of instability.

Upon entering the pavilion, an interior installation meets visitors, comprising paintings, sculptural elements, and found objects. the exhibition overall embodies the israeli artist’s ongoing concern with ideas related to the notion of ‘home’. the use of terrazzo tiles, windows, shutters, lattices, and cement blocks exist as fragments of could constitute a place of habitation.

Tsibi Geva extends “archeology of the present” across the exterior of the israeli pavilion building as well as through its interior. the site-specific installation sees the entire pavilion canvassed with over a thousand used black tires, tightly interlocked with cables to create a stippled grid. brought in from israel, the used tires, permeated with a distinct odor, forms a protective layer over the structure, turning it into a sculptural event on the grounds of venice’s giardini. ‘tire walls’ form an organized network of holes that appear to defend the building from danger, visually communicating an urgent political statement.

The project encompasses the thematic and formal characteristics that have come to define geva’s work over time. using the exterior as well as the interior of the pavilion, it destabilizes familiar divisions between inside and outside, the functional and the representational, high and low, abandoned, found, and modified elements’, describes hadas maor, curator of the israeli pavillon at the art biennale 2015. ‘it raises self-reflexive artistic concerns and epistemological questions, as well as political and cultural questions pertaining to locality and immigration, hybrid identity, existential anxiety and existence in an age of instability.

Tsibi Geva (born 1951) is an Israeli educator and music/art critic. Geva’s work is a cross between graffiti, Sculpture and abstract expressionism. One of Israel’s most prominent and influential artists. Geva lives and works in Tel Aviv and New York.

Since 1979 he has exhibited extensively worldwide. Solo exhibitions include the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1984); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1985); Tel Aviv Museum (1988); Haifa Museum, Haifa (2003); Tel Aviv Museum (2008); The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC (2013); MACRO Testaccio, Rome (2014) and Mönchenhaus – Museum of Modern Art, Goslar (2015) and the Israeli Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015).

His participation in international group exhibitions include the Kunsthaus Zürich Orangerie Herrenhausen, Hannover (1989); The Jewish Museum, NY (1989),Whitebox, NY (2013); Palazzo Reale, Milan (2006); Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2005); El Espacio Aglutinador, Havana, Cuba (1998); The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2012); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2016); Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem (2010), Dehallen Belfort, Bruges Belgium (2006), and CCA Andratx, Mallorca (2010).

His works are included at major public and private collections, among them, The MoMA Collection, NY; The Jewish Museum, New York ; Rothfeld Collection, American University Museum, Washington DC; Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; The Phoenix collection; Annina Nosei, NY; Arturo Schwartz, Italy; Donald Rothfeld, NY; Joshoua Gessel, Zurich; Michael Recanati, NY; Monique and Max Burger, Zurich.

Geva is a professor at the School of Visual Arts, MFA program, NY; the University of Haifa, and Hamidrasha School of Art, Beit Berl College, Israel. He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Sandberg Prize from The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Mendel and Eva Pundik Foundation Prize from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Israeli Ministry of Culture.

The Exhibition
“Archeology of the Present” is a complex new installation, which will extend over the exterior of the pavilion as well as on its interior and include motifs that I dealt with in the past (the Keffiyeh, terrazzo, lattices, shutters, and other components of the ‘house’ or ‘home’), taking them to a new level. The installation will combine found objects, sculptures, paintings, and video art.

Tsibi Geva bringing together elements I have previously used separately in my work. It is a work that totally disrupts the distinction between external and internal, high and low, conceptually creating different kinds of dialectic hybrids.

Tsibi Geva’s art is in a way the product of, and a reflection on the place which I love and which tears him apart in its radical political and ethical conflict.

Tsibi Geva opposed the occupation, and the destructive and cancerous influence it has on every aspect of Israeli and Palestinian culture and society, and tried all those years to deal with this complex and almost impossible identity in aesthetic and linguistic terms.

Tsibi Geva try to build a project that might be political, in that it will make it possible to put forward the repressed and the rejected, thereby facilitating fruitful dialogue; a political and cultural dialogue concerning immigration, multicultural society, temporariness, existential anxiety, a sense of a dead-end road, and living on the edge.


Installation ‘tire walls’
Installation ‘boidem’
Installation ‘shutter wall’
Installation ‘lattice’

Israeli Pavilion
The Israeli pavilion houses Israel’s national representation during the Venice Biennale arts festivals. The pavilion, designed by Zeev Rechter, was built between 1951 and 1952 and later restored by Fredrik Fogh in 1966.

The Israeli Pavilion is realized under the auspices of the Israel Ministry of Culture and Sport – Museums & Visual Art Department, and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Division for Culture and Scientific Affairs.

Embassy of Israel in Italy – Israel Lottery Council for the Arts – Hiriya Recycling Park – The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation – Outset Contemporary Art Fund Israel – International Production Fund – Artis – Sapiselco, ArtisTie, Italy – Art Partners – Geny and Hanina Brandes – Sharon and Gil Brandes – Adi and Doron Sebbag – Irit and Jonathan Kolber – Bracha and Roy Ben-Yami

Venice Biennale 2015
The 2015 Art Biennale closes a sort of trilogy that began with the exhibition curated by Bice Curiger in 2011, Illuminations, and continued with the Encyclopedic Palace of Massimiliano Gioni (2013). With All The World’s Futures, La Biennale continues its research on useful references for making aesthetic judgments on contemporary art, a “critical” issue after the end of the avant-garde and “non-art” art.

Through the exhibition curated by Okwui Enwezor, La Biennale returns to observe the relationship between art and the development of human, social and political reality, in the pressing of external forces and phenomena: the ways in which, that is, the tensions of the external world solicit the sensitivities, the vital and expressive energies of the artists, their desires, the motions of the soul (their inner song ).

La Biennale di Venezia was founded in 1895. Paolo Baratta has been its President since 2008, and before that from 1998 to 2001. La Biennale, who stands at the forefront of research and promotion of new contemporary art trends, organizes exhibitions, festivals and researches in all its specific sectors: Arts (1895), Architecture (1980), Cinema (1932), Dance (1999), Music (1930), and Theatre (1934). Its activities are documented at the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts (ASAC) that recently has been completely renovated.

The relationship with the local community has been strengthened through Educational activities and guided visits, with the participation of a growing number of schools from the Veneto region and beyond. This spreads the creativity on the new generation (3,000 teachers and 30,000 pupils involved in 2014). These activities have been supported by the Venice Chamber of Commerce. A cooperation with Universities and research institutes making special tours and stays at the exhibitions has also been established. In the three years from 2012-2014, 227 universities (79 Italian and 148 international) have joined the Biennale Sessions project.

In all sectors there have been more research and production opportunities addressed to the younger generation of artists, directly in contact with renowned teachers; this has become more systematic and continuous through the international project Biennale College, now running in the Dance, Theatre, Music, and Cinema sections.