Gal Weinstein at The Venice Biennialby Danielle Gorodenzik | 24.08.17
Taking a step outside of Tel Aviv and into the Israeli Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale a familiar scent of Turkish coffee fills the site-specific installation, Sun Stand Still by Gal Weinstein. The title and works try to stop time and refer to the ancient Israelite leader Joshua Bin-Nun who stopped the sun in order to win his battle against the kings of Canaan before nightfall. However, the Tel Avivian mid-career artist’s works do not stand a chance against time as they mold and change shape over the course of the exhibition.
Curated by Tami Katz-Frieman, the installation is reminiscent of Weinstein’s monumental works and play with his strong control over mediums. The walls and floors decay showing time slipping away. Upstairs the large sculpture El Al is a bursting missile frozen in time surrounded by smoke and fire.
Behind the clouds of smoke and over a ledge is a bird’s eye view of the Jezreel Valley in the Dark. Resonant of his monumental work The Valley of Jezreel exhibited at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art in 2002, Weinstein uses the molding coffee dregs as his medium creating a dark view of the mythological collective memory of the Zionist settlements of the 1920’s.
In the garden of the pavilion is Marble Sun which recounts Weinstein’s work Nahalal, Partly Cloudy, 2005, where puzzle pieces of marble sit together in the structure of the circular utopian architecture of the first socialist village in Israel, Nahalal.
The exhibition uses the Israeli landscape and temporality as its medium. Gal Weinstein’s exhibition is on view at the Israeli Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia until November 26, 2017.