The Hawks and the Sparrows

The exhibition “The Hawks and the Sparrows” took place in Petach Tikva Museum between the 19 Feb 2015 and the 14 Apr 2015. This exhbition emerged from an artistic research. In her research BarOr chose to look at the Petach Tikva Museums Complex, which was shaped during the formative first years of the State of Israel and encompasses several display, commemoration, and preservation institutes, including the Art Museum, City Archive, the zoo, a taxidermy collection, and Man and the Environment Museum.

The exhibition comprises objects and documents which BaOr collected during her research and gathered under the roof of the Collection Gallery. BarOr was drawn to objects she found in the store rooms of the different institutions (rather than those chosen for display) or others that have a liminal position in relation to the conventional classification categories. The examination of the artifacts from a private perspective – that of the artist – and the refusal to organize the artifacts according to the clear categories prescribed by modernism, construct the exhibition as a cabinet of curiosities (wunderkammer).  The cabinets of curiosities, those ancestors of contemporary museums, were the first attempts to create a microcosm by collecting different objects taken from the world and appropriated to the private room of the European aristocrat. However, BarOr source for collecting and appropriating is not the world, but rather the museums themselves. And so, the Collection Gallery is transformed into a mirror ball of sorts, fusing the fragmented views on the different spaces in the complex. In that sense, BarOr is aware of the fact that she is acting in a world after the plunder, a world in which the plunder is already assimilated, and on which every action is already based. This is the starting point.

It seems that none of the elements in the space is in good condition: the paper is yellowing and the plaster crumbles, the feathers of the taxidermy bird have already fallen, exposing a bare bones and metal skeleton. This slow and steady destruction is almost read as the artifacts’ protest against the mummifying and preserving museal project. In their ruin and disintegration the things establish themselves as part of life, as something to which history holds on, leaving its marks on its body, and not as something that had been relegated outside of time, to the realms of eternity and commemoration. In that respect, the true hero of the exhibition is the body: the body of the artist, the body of the viewers, to which the exhibition directly relates at a 1:1 scale. BarOr wishes to transform the entire body into an active force in the exhibition. In the process she strives to introduce a different kind of logic, more intuitive perhaps, which offers decentralized power relations; these allow the coexistence of multiple narratives and gazes, rendering the need to fight over the strict boundaries that separate them from one another obsolete.