Amos Gitaï

Chronicle of an Assassination Foretold

3 july – 6 nov. 2016

“When Rabin was shot, on the 4th of November 1995, I felt that a page of Israeli history had been turned. I always felt that this particular part of the world is… like a volcano. On a world scale, it’s not the biggest conflict: in the last two years more people have been killed in Syria than in one hundred years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But it has a very strong symbolic power for different reasons. First of all, it’s really a collision between a Western-oriented society and the Orient. This little territory is also the birthplace of the three monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Together these three religions radiate very strong iconographic images all over the planet, although the distance between the Sea and the Jordan river is less than a hundred kilometres! So this tiny territory has great symbolic values.

Now in this context, the problem of the artist, of the film-maker, of the writer, is what to do when you live next to a volcano. What is the artistic form that you can propose? In this book, Hans Ulrich put a good title to our conversation which is: «What is the right distance?» Which is to say, because you’re in the middle of a very dramatic situation, a kind of an endless feuilleton, you have to impose a perspective, and it’s not easy because everybody wants you to represent politics. Some want you to be extremely politically correct and they deny any contradiction to their positions, this obliges you have to be very rigorous, and even I would say tough, in order not to accept or to submit to a kind of compromising position. You have to re-spect the other, to show the suffering of the other, not just of the Israelis, and at the same time you have to construct a perspective.

So a few years ago we decided to make this project on the assassination of Rabin as a kind of a gesture about memory and even in the hope that sometimes when you resurrect memory, it can create movements. But we have to be modest about it: art is not the most efficient way to change reality. Politics or machine guns have a much more direct effect. But sometimes art has some delayed effect, because it conserves memory when big powers want to erase it, because they call for obedience, they don’t want to be disturbed, they don’t want dissent. But if artists are loyal to their inner truth, they produce works which voyage in time, which don’t always have immediate effects, sometimes they have delayed effects. I hope that this is something that we do with this multi-format presentation, a movie, an exhibition and a theatre play, about the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

I like to create a dialogue with the space, so when I walked through Collection Lambert I felt that the space that was given to my exhibition was one of the relatively calm spaces that one could get. We needed to create an atmosphere, a mood of this exhibition, so we’ll close the arches and we’ll have it dark and control the lighting.

We would install two walls so that the visitor can immediately be aware of the main elements which are exposed. Fragments which are taken from the scene of the assassination of Rabin. Projections. Pamphlets dealing with the incitement campaign against Rabin. Figurines. It invites you to continue, to wander in the space and to listen to the whispers of different sounds.

In this particular project that we are doing about the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, I use three different mediums: Rabin, the Last Day, a film, an exhibition called “Chronicle of an Assassination Foretold” at the Collection Lambert, and I’ll also present a theatrical performance at the Cour d’honneur du Palais des papes during the Festival d’Avignon, entitled “Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of an Assassination Foretold”. There is an event, the assassination of Rabin, and it’s translation into different mediums, with all the resonance that this creates.

With the ceramics, I did a series of figures which one can imagine are the demonstrators at the peace rallye during which Rabin was assassinated. We’ll use a very small camera to film them, and the image captured will be projected sometimes on the prints themselves, on the large scale photographs of the assassination. The videos, the ceramics and the sound components together constitute an ensemble. It’s a kind of juxtaposition of fragments. Some of them are objects, like ceramics, some of the fragments are images, drawings on photographs…

And it’s also about the deterioration of memory. There is the event itself, and after there are the different stages of the deterioration of the event. The fixed images seize a kind of moment. Afterwards, one finds the fluidity of the event itself and of other fragments stored in me-mory. We will have to see it when we have the ensemble… we can talk about it, we can make assumptions, but I think that finally when it exists – and this is true about movies, about painting – our own interpretation is only partial. Visitors can make their own interpretation and they are legitimate interpreters, not just consumers of the artist’s work.”

Amos Gitaï, June 2016