Dani Gal

Dani Gal

The Jewish Museum

Dani Gal, As from Afar (still), 2013. Color HD video film, sound, 26 minutes. © Dani Gal. Courtesy of the artist and Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich.

November 5, 2014

Dani Gal: As from Afar
On view through February 1, 2015

The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue 
New York, NY 10128
Hours: Saturday–Tuesday 11am–5:45pm (shops closed Saturday), Wednesday closed (shops open 11am–3pm), 
Thursday 11am–8pm, Friday 11am–4pm

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The Jewish Museum presents the United States premiere of As from Afar, a short video installation by Israeli-born artist Dani Gal. As from Afar explores the relationship between Simon Wiesenthal, the Jewish Holocaust survivor who devoted his life to hunting Nazis, and Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect and armaments minister.

As from Afar is a fictionalized account of Wiesenthal and Speer’s meetings and uses dialogue based on their letters. Speer first wrote to Wiesenthal in 1974, after his release from prison, in an effort to accept some responsibility for his war crimes. His public admission of his moral misconduct impressed Wiesenthal; they began a correspondence that lasted until the early 1980s. Despite their profoundly contrasting personal histories, they shared common interests—both were trained architects and successful authors. They pursued their unlikely friendship despite controversy and occasionally visited each other. Gal takes this strange relationship as a starting point for a meditation on how historical events are recalled, recorded, and distorted.

Among Gal’s sources for the story of Speer and Wiesenthal is the book Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends by the Israeli historian Tom Segev, which supplies much of the dialogue. Also important is the voice of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose notes on memory and images are spoken by a narrator. 

The artist uses cinematic techniques and documentary materials to reconstruct such events, while remaining fully aware of the problematic nature of any re-creation. He is intrigued by the process of inclusion and exclusion that goes into reimagining the past, particularly the Holocaust. Poetic and contemplative, As from Afar examines perceptions and interpretations of history, exploring the way history and memory hover between fact and fiction.

Related public programs

Concert: Daniel Gortler
Thursday, December 18, 7:30pm
Acclaimed Israeli pianist Daniel Gortler—who has performed as a soloist, in chamber music ensembles, as lieder accompaniment, and with orchestras around the world—joins us for an evening of classical music, featuring pieces by Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann, and Robert Schumann, whose work is featured in Dani Gal: As from Afar. The selections by Clara Schumann include seldom-performed compositions that highlight her tumultuous and romantic relationships with the two other composers.

Universal Pictures: Considering Contemporary Video Practice
Thursday, January 22, 6:30pm
A roundtable discussion considering contemporary video and moving image practice as it intersects with history, materials, process and performance. Participants include artists Joan Jonas, Ken Okiishi and Lucy Raven. Jennifer West, artist and Assistant Professor of Fine Arts Practice, Roski School of Art and Design, USC, will moderate.
Free with pay-what-you-wish admission, RSVP recommended

The artist
Dani Gal (born 1975, Jerusalem) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Bezalel Academy for Art and Design in Jerusalem; the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule in Frankfurt; and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York. His work has been shown widely, including at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011).

Dani Gal: As from Afar is organized for the Jewish Museum by Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, and Joanna Montoya Robotham, Neubauer Family Foundation Assistant Curator.

The film was co-produced by the Jewish Museum, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria, and Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Switzerland with generous support from Medienboard Berline-Brandenburg, Ostrovosky Family Fund, Artis Contemporary, and Freymond-Guth LTD. Fine Arts.

Public programs are made possible by endowment support from the William Petschek Family, the Trustees of the Salo W. and Jeannette M. Baron Foundation, William Halo, Benjamin Zucker, the Marshall M. Weinberg Fund, with additional support from Marshall M. Weinberg, the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Foundation, the Saul and Harriet M. Rothkopf Family Foundation and Ellen Liman.
Public program support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. 

Dani Gal at the Jewish Museum
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The Jewish Museum
November 5, 2014

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