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Jerusalem studios, galleries open doors in annual contemporary art festival Manofim

The 14th year of the locally created art event transforms city into a gallery, with events taking place on roofs and in studios, galleries and gardens

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

The newly installed Tea House Sound Gallery at Jerusalem's Hansen House is one of the many locations for the upcoming Manofim contemporary art festival, September 13-17, 2022 (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)
The newly installed Tea House Sound Gallery at Jerusalem's Hansen House is one of the many locations for the upcoming Manofim contemporary art festival, September 13-17, 2022 (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

Jerusalem’s art scene is active, kicking and contemporary, a message made loud and clear ahead of the upcoming Manofim Festival, the city’s largest annual art event taking place September 13-17, on roofs and in studios, galleries and gardens throughout the city.

Founded by Lee Hee Shulov and Rinat Edelstein 14 years ago, the citywide art event engages local artists and visiting ones, some in residency at the city’s Talpiot Artist Cube Artists’ Studios, and includes musical events, kids activities and a celebration of the 10th anniversary of art magazine HaRama.

Many of the city’s galleries will have new exhibits opening for Manofim, including the Art Cube Artists’ Studios, Artists House, Hansen, Musrara, Jerusalem Print Workshop, Ticho House, Beita, Agrippas 12, Artists’ Workshop at Teddy Stadium, Barbur and Hacubia.

Tickets can be purchased for Manofim tours, which run about 2.5 hours long and will take visitors to several Manofim sites at different parts of the city. One tour starts at art space HaMiffal behind the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and ends at the Hadassah Academic College, while another begins from the Leper’s House at Hansen and ends at the downtown Artists House.

One of the veteran locations for viewing local and visiting artists’ works is at the Talpiot Art Cube Artists’ Studios, situated above the car garages and mechanics of Hauman Street and where Shulov and Edelstein first created Manofim.

An exhibit by Ofri Cnaani titled “Testimonies of Things ” will open September 13 at Art Cube Artist’s Studios, showcasing Cnaani, an Israeli who has lived abroad for much of the last 20 years, recounting the story of a 2018 fire in Brazil’s Museu Nacional, through photos and texts about the geological and digital residue left from the blaze.

Some 20 million items burned in the blaze, said curator Dveer Shaked, turning it into a museum of things that no longer exist.

Artist Neta Moses demonstrates her ‘Deep Fake’ exhibit about her grandmother and aging app imagery ahead of Manofim contemporary art festival in Jerusalem, September 13-17, 2022. (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

The Artists’ Studio is also one of the locations where Manofim participants can meet local artists for First Reveal, the festival’s ongoing meetings with new and emerging artists in studios around the city.

Attendees can book a visit with Neta Moses on September 13 in her Art Cube Artists’ Studio, where the Bezalel graduate is working on Deep Fake, a video work about her beloved grandmother, delving into Moses’ own photography archives and finding alternative ways to look and maneuver the two womens’ very similar faces using aging applications.

“We had an agreement that I wouldn’t use photos of her,” said Moses, whose grandmother died at the age of 92 and never became attached to screens, not even a television screen. “Savta had an old-school approach, but she was also worried about trusting what we see since screens make it so easy to fake everything.”

Instead, Moses mines her own archives of photos of her grandmother to maneuver her own face onto her grandmother’s, seeing her features on her grandmother’s younger face. She’ll be using her ‘Savta generator’ with visitors’ photos of their own grandparents.

A work by video artist Sharon Balaban from a previous exhibit, part of her ongoing examination of the female body and existence, and part of her upcoming Manofim festival exhibit at Mamuta, September 13-17, 2022 (Courtesy Herzliya Museum of Art)

Over at Hansen House in Jerusalem’s German Colony neighborhood, video artist Sharon Balaban — known for her works that mine the female experience and attempt to elicit strong reactions — will exhibit “Resting Bitch” at the Mamuta, the basement floor exhibit space at the historic building.

The solo exhibit, curated by Sala-Manca, is a multi-screen installation in which Balaban deconstructs and reexamines the female body and its relation to the environment in which it exists.

She views the female body as a place of fertility and production, one that “creates and manufactures,” said Balaban, “but not as something magical, but something more animalistic.”

Balaban will demonstrate her vision in more than a dozen video installations at Mamuta, using her own obsession with banal, simple household items to unravel the sexual, sensual and absurd repressed female domestic existence.

Hansen House will also be the site of a daytime party on Friday, September 16 with singer Riff Cohen and El Khat, as well as the Manofim conference, taking place Thursday and Friday, discussing art in the age of politics, climate change and technology.

A family activity at a previous Manofim Festival, this year taking place September 13-17, 2022 (Courtesy Itamar Grinzbourg)

(While at Hansen House, be sure to visit the newly installed Tea House sound theater, an outdoor sound space moved from the nearby Sherover House, where several speakers play a 30-minute loop of meditative music by the Medusa Band.)

Kids activities will be held each day from Tuesday through Thursday, September 13-15, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Hamesila, the train track park where it runs under the Bar Am bridge.

For more information about events, activities and tickets (including the Manofim daily ticket that includes entry to all of the day’s events), go to the Manofim website.

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