July 2014


The Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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about the exhibition

Paintings by Eliahou Eric Bokobza from the collection of Tsale Kirzner. 

Journeys, life stories, and dreams of two wanderers come together in the current exhibition: Eliahou Eric Bokobza, an Israel-based artist of Tunisian origin, born in Paris, and Tsale Kirzner, a Netherlands-based collector of Polish origin, born in Curaçao. With a blend of humor and criticism, orientalism is infused with new life in the featured works. Reproduced symbols and local heroes are situated in controversial landscapes representing the dream of a Promised Land and, at the same time, the sharply contrasting reality. 
Vivid, luring coloration, recurring geometrical shapes, and lush floral ornamentation spawn a dreamlike landscape. What first appeared to be colorful, naïve and innocent work turns out to be a deceptive “trompe l’oeil.” A closer look reveals that the visual abundance contains ironic scenes and criticism. Amid the myriad details emerges a critique of chauvinism, religious fanaticism, nationalism and militarism, colonialism and homophobia. Bokobza’s re-charting spares nothing and no one. Heroes and mythological figures alongside family and friends; holy sites as well as residential buildings; propaganda and iconography—all are depicted with humorous stereotypical abstraction: all men have mustaches, all buildings have domes. Through beauty and humor superficiality is ridiculed and criticized. 

Curator: Ronit Eden