Ministry of Information
Solo exhibition at Beit-Hankin Museum, Joshua Village
Curator: Neta Haber
From the Curator's text (short version):
The 'Ministry of Information' exhibition was created over a year, along with the ongoing conservation and development of Beit-Hankin. Throughout the year Sapir conducted a personal, non-scientific research that explores the place's evolution. He became familiar with Beit-Hankin, its unique collections and the natural and human habitat it resides in. The place became, for a while, his own private studio.
The installation was constructed and evolved in a slow, ongoing process, growing organically from the place and its collections, in a process of unraveling and re spreading. Sapir rummaged in the place's collections, opening each drawer, extracting items hidden for years, and presented them in a dense, multi-layered installation. The installation embeds various items Sapir collected from the environment, his previous works, items created specifically for the show and items collected or created by the school and children from the local kinder-garden.
At the base of the show stands the collection as an artistic and political strategy. Sapir, in contrast to scientific and museum practices, disrupts the intermediary role, detaches the objects from their definition and source, and installs them as anonymous objects, devoid of information, lacking hierarchy or context. He creates a fictitious information ministry: a detached, non-committing space that raises questions and contradictions, and encrypts different suggestions for interpretation and decoding. At first, and for a brief moment only, a familiar feeling arises, as if one has entered the old science and nature museum with its ordered body of knowledge.
The festive atmosphere that welcomes the visitor suddenly turns into a morbid show, laden with details and surprises. At the center of the show stands a death mask of the artist, his body a mound of the valley's soil, while around it are roots from the recently uprooted communal Kfar-Yehoshua orchards, in preparation for a burning at the stake of the artist himself. The neon sign "Transporting to a foreign burial grounds" – a phrase taken from a plaque found in Beit-Hankin - ties the component of the exhibits in an opaque knot, revolving around extinction and failure. The effect of the show gradually increases with the realization that the complex mausoleum installed by Sapir raises a sense of loneliness and foreignness, a feeling of cultural and social failure and a crumbling of the collective memory.