A Journey, a Challenge and a Conflict:
Religion, Army and the Existential Fear in the Work of Eliahou Eric Bokobza
The Tzevaot exhibition is a sort of a journey, taken by the artists Eric Eliahou Bokobza (b. 1963, Paris) into the Israeli culture, with its inert religiousness and militarism… The religious fundamental world and the militaristic one are explored in Tzevaot under one roof in order to reveal their resemblance. The exhibition’s title Tzevaot, not only refers to militarism, but also to the name of God, Adonay (Jehova) Tzevaot which, translated to English as Lord of Hosts (KJV) or Lord of Heaven’s Armies (New Living Translation), means literally: Lord of Armies.
… Alongside the Tzevaot exhibition’s new works, former series are also exhibited in Beit HaOmanim’s ground floor: The exhibitions Powerland (2003), and Kir Bar’am (Bar’am Wall) from 2011-2012 are combined here, creating one exhibition, named Zot he Ha’Aretz (This is the Land) which offers the “tourist-painter”‘s view, as Bokobza calls it, of the local reality, the seen and the unseen as well.
A new work is presented aside the old series, referring to the movie Zot he HaAretz (This is the Land, directed by Baruch Agadatti, 1935, figure 2), summarizing typical motifs, styles and themes typical to the artist’s vast body of works. The
abovementioned movie was the first documentary “talkie” filmed in Hebrew. It was presented as a “pioneering [Genesis] movie with genesis powers about the path of a life of a nation starting its way from the Genesis” (from the movie poster, Mugrabi Cinema, 1935). The movie brings up the early Zionist history in Palestine, the very
history Bokobza’s tourist-painter watches and by doing so, undermines it.
Symbolically, going up (stairs) from Zot he HaAretz to Tzevaot (presented at Beit HaOmanim’s second floor) takes the viewer to another level of observation. “The tourist-painter usually sees what people want to show him,” says Bokobza, “while in Tzevaot I seek to define a new kind of looking, the ‘spy-painter’ kind, which makes an attempt to see and show what he is not shown, the undefined realm, the in-between realm which remains hidden.”