Haim Maor, The
Green Paper, July 2003
Elyasaf Kowner, Miklatok,
the art gallery in Kibbutz Maabarot
Elyasaf Kowner examines the place from a point of view of
an artist who hunts his images while being an urban nomad.
In the last three years, while wandering in the range between
Gordon Beach and the Drummers Beach in Tel Aviv, Elyasaf
Kowner shoots short videos and 6x6 photographs of figures,
objects, and landscapes that fascinate him “in their
facade” as he says.
The final result, in the gallery wall photographs, looks
like fragmented fashionable-clip-ads lacking a common denominator:
Portraits of young girls in exposed bathing suits or in
military camouflage T-shirt with an ethnic bead necklace
and a golden Star of David; Israeli police cops in their
blue uniform, standing next to a barricade in front of a
blue wall in the Dolphinarium; The Tel aviv beach with old
bathers in the water or goalposts of junior soccer that
become the image of a tent or a detached home; The American
embassy and Beach Market.
In the gallery’s video screening appears a big dog
that wants to drink water from the urban open sewer. In
order to drink the water it tries to move a stone that is
blocking the opening. Like in the Sisyphus’ myth,
the stone comes back and closes the opening, again and again
the dog in the TV loop does not let go.
To this entire Jigsaw puzzle Elyasaf Kowner attached the
title “In Great Condition”, a name that sounds
cynical and ironic in the light of the fact that behind
all this nice glamorous facade of “business as usual”
lay the signs of contemporary reality.
This reality is also expressed in the text that accompanies
the exhibition: “ The name of the exhibition is taken
from an flyer that was hanging in the city which offered
a gun for sale: “For Sale: A nine mm short gun in
great condition, including a leather pouch... That’s
how it is around here. People explode in our streets...
You need to wear American camouflage shirts to have energy
or at least put on ranks... Those muscles, power symbols...
Star of David tattoos... the Jewish nation is making a circular
In a second look, when the symbols are collected, the design
and fashion styles, the facial and body expressions, and
double checked one next to another, wall in front of wall,
image in front of image, the viewers realize that “it’s
all connected” and “it’s all politics”
and that we were never “in great condition”
such as this one, yeh right.
Dr. Haim Maor (b. 1951) teaches in Ben
Founder of Studio Art Magazine and its first editor (1989-1993)