Curator Tzipi Vital has used the Alrov Mamilla Mall as a presentation space for a new outdoor exhibition. The exhibition featuring the works of 45 artists from Israel and abroad opened on 8 February and will close on 31 October 2011. The works made of stone, bronze and other materials are contemporary representations by the various artists of their interpretations, feelings and attitudes towards the Bible stories and Biblical characters. In Jerusalem, Bible stories means Tanach stories, that is, what Christians refer to as “The Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament”. The exhibition’s Biblical theme is particularly appropriate as Alrov Mamilla Mall walkway leads to the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. Surely to Western eyes and hearts the Biblical themed sculptures may seem out of place in an upscale consumer mall. But for Jerusalemites, the art works are just another part of the scenery. In Jerusalem, as throughout the rest of the Middle East, religion is a vibrant part of the landscape, and as such these sculptures are just another beautiful part of our urban scenery, as familiar and comfortable as the Bible is in our lives.
This small selection of sixteen photographs showcasing only twelve of the sculptures in the exhibition reflect my chosen theme: “Biblical Art in the Urban Environment”. They present how the works interact with the store displays and passersby on a day in late May at the Alrov Mamilla Mall.
“Zedikiyah in Chains”, by Bertie (Prof. Abraham Diskin), at the main entrance to Alrov Mamilla Mall. Zedikiyah borrows the Rolex crown as his guard keeps watch.
“Zedikiyah in Chains” watching over a shopper and a mall employee
“The Sacrifice of Isaac”, by Sam Philipe, highlighted by a triangle of noon day sun
“The Sacrifice of Isaac” looking out over the construction of the new Waldorf-Astoria Hotel – Jerusalem
“Moses”, by Betty Moller, and his assistant guiding a lost tourist in the right direction
“Bird of the Garden of Eden”, by Judith Shachar, echoes in the store display
“Lot’s Wife”, by Dov Levi Noymand, and two of her jumpin’ friends
Depiction of the Biblical Injunction “Rejoice and be happy!”, by Irit Lev, the work plays its violin for passersby
The draping of the statue “Rejoice and be happy” is reflected in the folds of the mannequin’s clothing
“The Biblical Patriarchs” Live Urban Summer 2011 with The Beatles
“The Third Temple”, by Lucien Krief. The Shofar (ram’s horn) sculpture calls us to redemption while the balloons remind us to celebrate Israeli Independence Day!
“Ruth” rests while her friend chats on a cellular phone
“Deborah the Prophetess”, by Betty Moller, declares: “It’s a fresh new start!”
“Bresheet” (Genesis), by Herzl Hadar, receives its portion of mineral water
Detail: Visual representation of the Biblical command to a woman “Raise your voice” (Isaiah 1:11), by Irit Lev
Visual representation of the Biblical command to a woman “Raise your voice” (Isaiah 1:11), by Irit Lev