Heara art events:’Here it is not Switzerland’, Ariane Littman, 2014
Or some thoughts about the Heara’s art events in Jerusalem
The Heara (comments) multidisciplinary art events orchestrated by Lea Mauas and Diego Rotman of the Sala-Manca art group that took place in Jerusalem during the years 2002-2007, in the midst of the Second Intifada, and involved hundred of artists who exhibited site-specific works in significant sites throughout the city, were the most fascinating art events in which I took part. It was during these events that I did my first performances and that I collaborated with other artists to create works of art. Those events enhanced my perception that Jerusalem was the geographical place I would choose in order to express my art without having to run to Tel Aviv to present my portfolio to curators hesitant to drive beyond the Sha’ar Hagai’s junction. It increased my awareness that art should not dwell into Kantian Disinterestedness, but should instead be rooted into the political and the ethical of a ‘here and now’. It was at a time when, with almost daily suicide bombings and the building of the Wall around Jerusalem, the political conflict entered my art more directly consequently to my work as a free-lance news photographer. ‘Here it is not Switzerland’, with black graffiti in Hebrew written over a huge banderol showing Lindt chocolats snowy Alps’ peaks hanging on the facade of the Sergey Coutyard, created the link between my pastoral country of birth, art and the ‘here and now’ that did not allow me to make blind aesthetic choices detached from the actual context. The banderol was exhibited at the art happening ‘Migrashim Harousim’ (2003) together with two Jerusalem Scrolls showing the Separation Wall in Abu Dis. The event was organised by Lea and Diego in response to Art Focus, the international art biennial, taking place nearby at the Museum of Underground Prisoners.
The Heara events offered the artists the challenge of learning about and ‘reacting’ to the history of a building, bringing together past and present into a work of art, a possibility that could not actualise in the more respectable yet dull ’White Cube’ museum space. During these events, I also discovered the power we had, we the artists, as a group of creative individuals thirsty to express ourselves without being dependant on the dominant institutions and without having to pursue a ‘courting ballet’ with its curators. In the midst of the Intifada, and afterwards, there was still a reason to create and exhibit in Jerusalem and to be proud of doing so. Lea and Diego created this space and we filled up that space with creative energies and works of art that resonated throughout the corridors and the rooms of those historical buildings. What else could we ask for?
It is only now in retrospect, after the last Heara 12 at The Hansen House and while reading the documentation in *Heara, that I am able to realise the significance of what happened back then. It was much more then just another colourful art event, it was a real ‘Comment’, an ‘Heara’, about the institutional world of art, about center and periphery and about engaged multidisciplinary creation.
Jerusalem, September 15 2014
For more information on the Heara projects, see