Michal Helfman | Running Out of History
You are turning history into a random throw of dice
– quote from Running Out of History
Curator: Nathanja van Dijk
The exhibition Running Out of History unfolds around Michal Helfman’s (IL, 1973) latest film with the same title. In this film the artist interweaves the complex relationship of the international community towards war-torn Syria with a search for the validity of art under the weight of history. Using abstract dance, technology and theater Helfman draws our attention to pressing political issues of justice, collective responsibility, solidarity and different perspectives on world history. How do historical narratives influence our personal identity and the way in which we relate to one another? While addressing these topical questions, Helfman explores ways in which artistic discourse can go beyond clichés of historical narratives.
Central to the exhibition are a pair of 3D printed dice, which were made with printers that were smuggled into Syria to create artificial limbs for war refugees. The words on the sides of these dice form the sentence: We will not forgive, we will not forget. The laden text refers to the historical relationship between Israel, Europe and the Holocaust. However, historical narratives are never static. Not too long ago Obama used these historical words to legitimize the American intervention in the Middle East after Osama bin Laden was killed. And the hacker group Anonymous’s words also appropriates the sentence by using them as a slogan.
In her exhibition Helfman tests the relationship between east and west, aggressor and victim, smugglers and humanitarian aid workers. And with each roll of the dice we are reminded of the arbitrary course of history and our response to it, on an individual and collective level.
“People want to forget history. But history, is stronger than the narrative we choose to tell. Same stage, different actors, a new version of a forgotten play.” – quote from Running Out of History
About the artist
Michal Helfman (IL, 1973) lives and works in Tel Aviv. With her multidisciplinary practice she operates at the intersection of visual art, dance and theater. In order to demonstrate the relations between the reviled and the hidden forces working within society and culture, she has developed a conceptual and visual language based on the back-stage front-stage structure of the theatrical stage as one, simultaneously bringing together both the real and the symbolic.
Helfman’s film Running Out of History was presented at KW (Berlin) and at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 2016. Other recent exhibitions include I’m broke so I can’t pay attention (2015, P!, New York, US), The Century Mark. Tel Aviv Musuem of Art visist Berlin (2015, MartinGropius-Bau, Berlin), CHANGE (2013, CCA, Tel Aviv, IL), Experiments in techniques of awakenings (2012, Yaffo 23, Jerusalem), and Herzliya Biennial (2011, Herzliya, IL). She teaches at the BFA and MFA program of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Running Out of History is Michal Helfman’s first solo-exhibition in the Netherlands.
Running Out of History is kindly supported by:
Gemeente Rotterdam, Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds, Stichting Stokroos and KUNSTENISRAËL