Tamara Moyzes

Tamara Moyzes
Holocaust Memorial at Prague 7 (shown in Dresden and Wroclaw)
2012,  performance

The inconspicuous Holešovice square located in Prague’s district 7 bears a history no longer visible today that resulted in the murder of a large part of the Jewish population in Prague: Between 1941 and 1945, 44,688 people were deported to concentration camps from here. In 2002 the plan was made to build a shopping centre and a town hall on the grounds. Part of the plan was to erect a publically accessible space of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust. In 2006 the Slovakian-born artist Tamara Moyzes was asked to design the draft for this memorial. But since this first request, public interest in Prague has died down, in a city that Vilém Flusser once described as a cosmopolitan metropolis of free European thought up until the 1930s and that adorns itself with its Jewish history especially for tourism. The reason lies not least in the nationalist tendencies that are becoming stronger in the Czech Republic. The focus is now on the economic wish to sell the property to private investors. Tamara Moyzes seeks to draw attention to this bad state of affairs. She aptly terms her performance ›artivism‹, as a work between art and activism. On display is a snapshot of the demonstration on the grounds, printed on a lorry tarpaulin in the outdoor area of the rear entrance of the Kunsthaus facing Hauptstraße, and a news report on her action against the promise that was not kept and against forgetting.

Tamara Moyzes (*1975 in Bratislava) studied art at Avni Institute of Fine Arts, Tel Aviv, the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava, the Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Jerusalem and the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. She lives and works in Prague.

 

Tamara Moyzes in collaboration with Shlomi Yaffe

Protocol (shown in Wroclaw)
2010,  video-audio installation, 17 min 15 sec

Polish Bourekas
2014, video

Protocol (shown in Wrocław)
2010, video-audio installation, 17 min. 15 sec.

Bourekas films belong to a popular Israeli film genre from the 1960s and 1970s, described as a ›peculiarly Israeli genre of comic melodramas or tearjerkers… based on ethnic stereotypes…‹ Ha’aretz film critic Uri Klein. Bourekas are expressive comedies with attributes of melodrama, which focus on depicting relations between jews with an arabic, Mizrahi and jews with a European, background, Ashkenazi. Their way of portaying social features of the inhabitants of an East European Shtetl can be traced back to the influence of historical Yiddish literature. Polish Bourekas is a cooperative project of Tamara Moyzes (Ashkenazi Jew) and Shlomi Yaffe (Mizrahi Jew) in which they use the typical setting of Bourekas films and Yiddish literature to address different Jewish cultural stereotypes and to track the negation of the Jewish diaspora as an important ideological element of the modern Jewish movements, especially the Zionist movement. For their film, they combine the comedian aspect of Bourekas with paradigms from the Yiddish literature and theater which are reflected within the stories of life of contemporary Israeli figures, with the help of animated scenes. The protagonists of the films are three personalities with a Mizrahim background: Yigal Amir, Mordechai Vanunu, and Tali Fahima. All three of them represent in a very different way oppositional positions towards the State of Israel as well as, according to the artists, to the historical ideology of Zionism. In the series of short films using 3D face animation technologies, three historical events are portrayed. The heads of the two performer are either partially replaced by animations indicating the historical personalities they are performing, or seen with green tracking points visible on their real faces.The film contains yet another ideological layer referencing the secular Jewish socialist Bundist movement, one of the major secular Jewish political forces in Poland before the Shoah. After the war, the International Jewish Labor Bund was founded in New York, affiliated with groups all over the world. The movement, strongly based on the values of acting from within given societies, called doikayt (lit. “hereness”), formed a strong opposition to the notion of an alleged ancestral homeland and new nation as pursued in Zionism.

Protocol, a second work in the exhibition resulting from a collaboration of the two artists, is the reconstruction of an investigation normally conducted by the Czech foreign police when one partner of a couple applies for the residence permit in the Czech Republic. The two marriage partners are interviewed separately, comparing the answers afterwards. While the protagonists remain invisible, the split screen reveals only a selected section of each room, an air conditioner on one screen and a clock on the other—the mundane image of a typical office space is contrasted with the indiscreet character of the interrogation. The questions appear in the subtitling, we hear alternately the voices of Shlomi Yaffe or Tamara Moyzes. Their answers reveal the entanglement of their private relationship as a couple and their professional artistic collaboration.

 

    Tamara Moyzes: ›Prague 7‹, Performance, 2012, Commercial Centre Instead of a Holocaust Memorial 2012
    Tamara Moyzes: ›Prague 7‹, 2012, Installation view Kunsthaus Dresden, Foto: David Brandt
    Tamara Moyzes: ›Prague 7‹, 2013, Exhibition view, Foto: David Brandt
    Tamara Moyzes: ›Prague 7‹, Performance, 2012, Installation view Wroclaw. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    Tamara Moyzes/Shlomi Yaffe: ›Polish Bourekas‹ 2014, videostill