After spending one year in Tel Aviv participating in the Artport artist residency program, Noa Gur is showing a new facade of her work, which is occupied with the politics of display culture.
She explores the politically inspired conditioning of visibility, its limitations, and links nationally inclined art to acknowledgement of visual material, examining the contexts where these boundaries are set through acts of preference, concealment, erasure and censorship. Gur addresses peoples‘ situations in political and cultural environments and comments on the differences in respective acknowledgement with regard to ethnicity and social background. The work is inspired by the idea of the educational playground that exhibition spaces provide as a platform that is disciplining the viewer and forming a bias alined with the nation-state‘s narrative.
The show includes pieces concerned with arrangement and restriction of visibility on these platforms of display. A workshop filmed in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art as part of a school group visit involves teenage participants from backgrounds of migrant workers, that do not hold Israeli citizenship, drawing paintings and sculptures of early Israeli art, first by looking and then merely by listening to an audio guide. The guide illustrates the painting "Resting at Noon" as a radio play in the form of a staged dialogue for children. In it, a couple supposedly representing Palestinian peasants enact a dialog in grotesque arabic accent. It lays the premises for a collective image of the native inhabitants and natural landscapes of Palestine which are portrayed as desolate and shadowless. While doing so, some of the prejudices through which Zionist settlers legitimize their ownership of the land are exposed.
The next piece "Art Dubai" is a monologue by the gallery‘s owner about his experience at Art Dubai art fair, where the fair‘s director interfered with the exhibition of one of the pieces and asked to make changes on the world map it displays. The demand followed a nocturnal visit to the fair made by the Sheikh. This very act of concealment on the world map is echoed in the piece "Postmodern Decoration", which features an interview with the director of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art where he reveals having covered an artwork with white paint that displayed the colours of the Palestinian flag.
In all of the works a collective identity, the ethnic or national, is being manifested in an object; a flag, a map or landscape painting, which evolves its own topography as layers of concealment reveal previous world views - almost like aged foundations of political predecessor‘s opinions on which current ideals have been built on, like old cities found under existing ones.
The cultural conditioning of vision and depiction is also regarded in a work shown in the smaller room. "Reward" consists of two films depicting backstreet trade deals and illegal money making. Here, the artist herself with her facial features remaining unrecognised, plays all roles of the various film characters. The result is a two channel video installation in which she is seen begging for change, robbing and shooting. The first time that the project was presented viewers were asked to compose a portrait of the offender with professional police software. The portrait showing the most accurate similarity to the films‘ perpetrator was given a prize.
Lastly, "Dark pools" (2013) is a video work comprising two screens, showing Gur‘s profile while she is seen swallowing a strip recounting Jesus‘ "miracle of loaves and fish". Another screen shows a broadcast from an Indian news agency, showing floods and consequent reconstruction work, along with information regarding changes in stock markets in East and South Asia, as the numbers scroll from left to right.