Studies on New Israeli Landscapes
Notes for a project by sala-manca (Jerusalem)
From the beginning of the 20th century, Zionism visually represented ideologically charged Eretz Israel (Palestine), showing the local landscape as an idealized continuation of the biblical landscape. Until around 1970, Jewish Israeli art constructed an ideological representation of “the own territory”, “the own landscape” where the Palestinian population was not represented at all, or became literally a part of the landscape. Since 2002 with the beginning of the construction of the separation wall by the Israel government, a new border is being defined and a new landscape is being created.
The construction of a new form of landscape, which has the aim of hiding the view of the separation wall, is being tested in Maavar Hazeitim (The Pass of the Olives), situated in Al-Azaria area, near Mount Scopus, Jerusalem. A pastoral and “natural” name is intended to conceal the fact that a weird terminal serves as a check-point. In this part of the wall the construction of a façade, of a Potemkin Village1, is being tested along the “border”, in order to prevent the Israeli citizens from seeing the wall. But the use of landscape construction, through painting and reliefs, is not only intended in this case to create the idea of a peaceful wall, but to make the wall disappear. You can see mountains, flowers, pastoral images, and also the facades of Jerusalem stone houses with windows which do not overlook any where.
In this project Sala-Manca deals with the use of political created landscapes, with these new forms of art-ificial or art-official and naïves landscapes, created in a very non-naïve platform. The platform is the message, and the naïve landscapes the decadence of an official aesthetics of colonialism. The first steps of a new fake as a way of living proposed by the Israeli state to its citizens.
Prof. G. Vakulinchuk