Tsibi Geva has been selected for this year’s Israeli Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale. The artist will present a site-specific art installation, ‘Archeology of the Present’. The 63-year-old artist lives and works in Tel Aviv and has shown in major exhibitions worldwide during an extensive career, including Kunsthaus Zürich; Orangerie Herrenhausen, Hannover; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and MACRO Testaccio, Rome.
The artist has also been the recipient of multiple awards, including the Sandberg Prize from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Pundick Prize from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Israeli Ministry of Culture. Geva uses found elements related to the home, such as terrazzo tiles, windows, shutters, lattices, and cement blocks, while the exhibit will juxtapose paintings with sculptural installations.
“The parts of the house are very broken somehow — it is falling apart,” he told Artinfo’s blog. “In terms of the different mediums, I look at it as one big project, as one polyphonic way of presenting objects.”
The artist was born on Kibbutz Ein Shemer, and states that his work is in part inspired by his father, an architect who built some 300 minimalist, post-Bauhaus buildings across Israel.
“Somehow, I found myself, maybe unconsciously, dealing with parts of the house or, let’s say, the Israeli home,” continued Geva.
His father was the first Jew to design an mosque in Israel, the artist added. He recalls accompanying his father to the Arabic villages, where his work was commissioned. “This dialogue as well as conflict we have here in Israel — somehow I think I bring it to my art,” he concluded.
“The physical layout will create sharp transitions between experiences of blockage, discomfort, and spatial ambiguity and between intimate, poetic moments, so that fragility and crudeness, lyricism and violence, are inextricably intertwined,” added Hadas Maor, curator of the country’s Pavilion.
The press release continues regarding the artist’s work, stating that the installation will address “Political and cultural questions of locality and immigration, hybrid identity, existential anxiety and existence in an age of instability.” Maor promises that Geva’s installation will engage “issues of the stratified structure of identity,” a recurring theme of the artist’s work.