States of the Arts



by Noa Gur

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Pubic curls are furtively scrawled in blue biro. Limbs stretch across a newsprint sheet, sweeping charcoal dust over the page. Prodded by pencil and drenched into watercolour, the same pockets of breast and stripes of slender leg can be picked out across several sketches. These leaves of nudity have been scavenged from a life-drawing class, for which the work’s nominal author modelled. Paying in kind through their creations, students could sacrifice their best efforts to a magpie auteur, or discard any failures. The pages that result form a mesh of art, flesh, and cash.

Words by Elizabeth Brown

Waltz with Bashir

directed by Ari Folman

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Waltz with Bashir is a semi-autobiographical, animated feature-film that delves into untapped histories surrounding the 1982 Lebanon War. Illustrating a series of documentary interviews, the animation is reduced in palette, but uncanny in its verisimilitude. Each amber and grey panel hints at a full-colour frame lying just out of reach. The film follows Folman’s attempt to recover long-buried memories of his time as a soldier in the Israel Defence Forces, repressed through trauma. Confronting this forgotten past, the heady dreamscape evokes both his uncertain recollection and the horrors of war.

Words by Elizabeth Brown

A Flat for Rent

by Leah Goldberg
Short story

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Four tenants inhabit a floor each of a five-storey tower. They are looking to fill the penthouse flat, recently vacated by Mr. Mouse. Animals visit, one by one, to survey the site. ‘Dwell with us!’ call the current occupants. Ant, rabbit, pig, and nightingale alike are impressed with the place, but repulsed by the other tenants’ bad habits. Will they be able to find a newcomer appreciative of the squirrel’s enthusiasm and the leisurely lifestyle of the hen? The inventiveness of the story, and its morals of tolerance and compassion, have made 'A Flat for Rent' a favourite in the canon of children’s literature, charming each generation anew.

Words by Hugh Maloney

Im Nin'Alu

by Ofra Haza

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‘Im Nin’Alu’ revives Rabbi Shalom Shabazi's seventeenth-century text in praise of the Living God. Its a capella opening adopts a loose, melismatic form, its great rhythmic freedom providing a meditative introduction, before Ofra Haza’s supporting ensemble leaps into action. The activity is perpetuated by fast-paced string motifs and a busy percussive presence, replete with striking drums, cymbals, and bells. Woodwind instruments produce a lighter timbre, spinning melodies between Haza's phrases, in support of the poem’s theistic affirmations.

Words by Hugh Maloney

More to discover

Bodybills: You can view a video featuring drawings from the artwork here. Further information about Noa Gur and her work can be found on the Campagne Première and Braverman Gallery websites.

Waltz with Bashir: You can view the trailer here and visit the film's official website here. Interviews with Ari Folman available online include those by Jonathan Freedland for The Guardian, Erica Abeel for IndieWire, and Robin Shulman for The Washington Post.

A Flat to Rent: You can read a biography of Leah Goldberg [also spelled Lea] on the Jewish Women's Archive website.

Im Nin'Alu: You can listen to the song here. Peter Paphides has written on Ofra Haza (the 'Israeli Madonna') for The Guardian, as has Deborah Moher for The Culture Trip.

Question of the day

Which Israeli artworks would you recommend, and why?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

If you haven’t seen it already, seek out the work of Ohad Naharin. He pulled dance and the moving body out of the grip of abstract modernism and gave it heart again. (→)

– Alex Ketley, choreographer and director of The Foundry (via The Brief →)

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