Since the end of March till the 21th of June, Martin Gropius Bau is hosting a very interesting exhibition of over 70 masterpieces of art from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Organised on the occasion of the events held for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany, it aims to bring to Europe not only special works of art diplayed for the first time on the continent, but also samples of contemporary Israeli art.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art was established for the first time in the house of the then mayor Meir Dizengoff, the new headquarters of the 5-story Amir building labelled as a sample of 'Israeli brutalism' being inaugurated in 2011. A short ironic graphic montage tells the story of the first museum, with added photographic details of the current compound. The exhibition is organized according to different thematic sections, featuring nature, women, the old world etc. It features 20th century artists, many of them with a certain connection with Berlin and Germany such as Kandinsky, Lesser Ury, Max Beckmann, Felix Nussbaum. Most of the works belong to Jewish artists, featuring abstract art, such as the beautiful Bewildered World by Max Ernst, Marc Chagall's Solitude, the very rare Had Gadya illustrations by El Lissitzky, Jackson Pollock outburst of colourful emotions, Chaim Soutine or the special Blue Leaves by Arie Aroch. Personally I was happy to admire the rain of light colours from Paul Ensor or Paul Signac landscapes, Mark Rothko's No. 24 - which is opening the exhibition, the Zurich Ball of Marcel Janco, the Venetian woman by Giacometti or the Old Synagogue by Issacher Ryback, Danseuses by Degas, Egon Schiele and the work of the interesting Arshile Gorky. Interesting works presented are also Lady Lilith by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Alexander Archipenko, Edvard Munch and Pablo Picasso.
Although I find the selection of contemporary Israeli art - mostly art installations - at centuries distance compared to the 'classical' works, I found the installation by Michal Helfman at the end of the exhibition, an interesting idea. Accompanied by music at certain moments of the day, it develops the theme: 'While dictators rage'. The kites projected on a murky sky are creating the stage for a violing and clarinet concert interpreting a musical piece featured in the 'Triumph of Death' by Felix Nussbaum.
Out of darkness and persecutions, the spirit triumphs against death and rage of idols. The diversity of the works and styles features at this important exhibition is not only a sample of creativity but also of human perspectives and European history.