March 21, 2012 - Petach Tikva Museum of Art - Alona Harpaz & Mika Rottenberg
March 21, 2012

Alona Harpaz & Mika Rottenberg

Alona Harpaz & Mika Rottenberg, “Infinite Earth,” 2012. Installation. Photo by Elad Sarig.

Alona Harpaz & Mika Rottenberg 
Infinite Earth, 2012
Installation
Curator: Drorit Gur Arie
9 February–30 June 2012

Petach Tikva Museum of Art
30 Arlozorov St., Petach Tikva

www.petachtikvamuseum.com

Alona Harpaz and Mika Rottenberg’s installation-model acquired its title from the name of a non-profit organization (Infinite Earth) established by the two artists in Berlin in 2008, intended to aid needy communities by supporting education, setting up employment centers, and training women and children in handicrafts. The artists raise funds by selling photographs in limited editions—”by-products” of small model-works inspired by Third World landscapes, which they create. The revenues from these “by-products” are directed to India and Africa—e.g. to supporting a weaving center in the village of Chamba in Northern India, owned and managed by a local women’s organization, or to an educational program for homeless sick children in Namibia. During the run of the exhibition, the artists will conduct a workshop in community empowerment at a drop-in (“warm home”) center for girls in Petach Tikva.

Unlike the previous projects (Infinite 1 and Infinite 2), implemented on a small scale, the installation Infinite Earth functions as a “visitors’ center” for the viewers’ enjoyment. A fantasy about art and play, it resembles a titanic board game or a touristy miniature park consisting of the four elements—air, fire, earth, and water. The game pattern projects, for instance, on the rehabilitation of the weaving factory, introducing the potential for repeating a work of art, which is then sold, activating the cycle of existence and livelihood as in a food chain; the energy reservoirs are drawn from the earth and return to it, just like all the other artistic-economic “give-and-take” resources in the project-game created by Harpaz and Rottenberg. The installation will be offered for sale during the exhibition to promote additional such projects.

The quasi-natural (bodies of water, a mine) or “child-like” (sandbox) objects in the installation spawn a microcosm, a mental landscape which does not represent a real place, yet draws inspiration from the geographical and cultural scenery of East Asia. The artistic vision is imbued with values of giving and receiving, activating a web of movement and change which, in turn, leads to a renewed distribution of resources aware of the need to save energy and preserve the environment. As a whole comprised of countless representations and fragments of reality, the installation is typified by flux and cyclicality of things which penetrate one another, sustain one another, depend on one another, setting one another in motion. This reciprocity is linked to one of the insights at the core of the Buddhist world view—a world whose entire elements, reflections, and phenomena forever exist in a mutual interdependence, and where everything is in a constant state of motion, flux, and change. This “cyclicality” seeks a human practice underlain by boundless responsibility for others and for one’s surroundings; one whose echoes are discernible in the installation, which sweeps the viewer into a prevailing game of truth.

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