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Video Works by Yair Garbuz
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The Cinematic Work of Yair Garbuz

Yair Garbuz is best known as a painter, but an important stage in his early work pertains to the films he made in the course of a decade, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. These early films (Notes, 1974; 12.05.1975, 1975; Brothers Maestro, 1975; If Not a Selfish Giant, Then at Least in His Garden, 1979; A Painter, Arab For Instance, 1980) were filmed on Super-8mm film with asynchronous soundtracks. His later films (A Jew, A Frenchman, and An Arab, 1986) were filmed on VHS with synchronous soundtracks. Garbuz is one of the first artists in Israel to engage with projected images.

This cinematic endeavor can be viewed as a continuation of the conceptual inquiry that takes place in Garbuz’s work. His films are experimental, he does not follow the rules of the cinematic medium; most of his works are non-narrative, and serve his engagement with concepts such as “home”, “space”, and “time”, and exploration of dichotomies such as “here/there”, “private/public”, “in/out”, “near/far”. There is also a linkage between his films and the act of creating an installation, since he himself appears in his films, at times in disguise, at others performing various actions in front of the camera. He also engages with the concept of body and its translation into image, much as installation artists do.

Garbuz’s films create an experience of inundation, for they contain a multitude of images. Some are presented in the form of staged or spontaneous scenes that he filmed, while many other images are recycled, for instance excerpts from films and television programs, and still photographs, some of which document his other works, including his paintings. The soundtracks accompanying the films, too, are usually multilayered and composed of narration, music, recordings of street sounds, radio programs, and so forth. Thus, at times it seems that these works constitute visual and audial expression of the artist’s stream of consciousness. There is also a clear connection between the films and his collage works. The films are a collage on a timeline, rather than on the image plane. The materials he uses function as “readymade” elements within the work, as they do in his collage works. There is no hierarchy between types of images, and whether an image is original, reproduced, or recycled is of no significance, which is consistent with the postmodernist approach, whose presence in Israeli art began growing in the 1980s.

Most of the films begin with a song and a black screen, which lasts for several minutes. Garbuz himself attests that this is meant to “calm the viewer, and to create an illusion that the film is going to continue in the same vein, thus creating a pre-effort state”.[1] He views these songs as a gesture of gratitude towards his viewers for the effort they are investing in his film, for their patience, their willingness to overcome the boredom, the absence of a plot, and for his amateurism.

Amateurism and improvisation are key characteristics of the artistic language in Garbuz’s films. In Marks of Indifference: Aspects of Photography in, or as, Conceptual Art, Jeff Wall describes actions of amateurish imitation employed by artists who adopt the photographic medium, and which are performed as part of their conceptual inquiry. This is evident in Garbuz’s films, too, for example in the careless style of filming that creates an impression that the film was not filmed by a professional cameraman, but an amateur. The camera darts around, the shots are not meticulously crafted, and sometimes even seem to be random, and thus too their length and the transitions between them – the cuts. Additionally, amateurism manifests in how Garbuz uses the family-photo genre, and incorporates photographs of his family at home into his films, thus imitating the making of a home video.

Garbuz combines elements from his personal biography with images from local political, social, and artistic history. Using creative, caustic artistic language, he presents a critical attitude in his films, at times cynical or parodical, towards the Zionist ethos, stereotypes and anthropological perceptions of different ethnic groups, and towards the figure of the artist, Israeli art, and especially the photographic medium. Along with his critical attitude, Garbuz’s love of creativeness is evident, and is attended by the explosive energy of artistic endeavor, playfulness, and humor.

 

Written by Yael Gesser.

 

The Public Art and Early Media archive is supported by Artis

 

[1] Yair Garbuz, In All Probability, a Train Will Pass Through Here Soon, Am Oved, Tel Aviv, 2000, p. 227 (Hebrew).

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 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

Video Works by Yair Garbuz
Public Art and Early Media Archive

The Cinematic Work of Yair Garbuz

Yair Garbuz is best known as a painter, but an important stage in his early work pertains to the films he made in the course of a decade, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. These early films (Notes, 1974; 12.05.1975, 1975; Brothers Maestro, 1975; If Not a Selfish Giant, Then at Least in His Garden, 1979; A Painter, Arab For Instance, 1980) were filmed on Super-8mm film with asynchronous soundtracks. His later films (A Jew, A Frenchman, and An Arab, 1986) were filmed on VHS with synchronous soundtracks. Garbuz is one of the first artists in Israel to engage with projected images.

This cinematic endeavor can be viewed as a continuation of the conceptual inquiry that takes place in Garbuz’s work. His films are experimental, he does not follow the rules of the cinematic medium; most of his works are non-narrative, and serve his engagement with concepts such as “home”, “space”, and “time”, and exploration of dichotomies such as “here/there”, “private/public”, “in/out”, “near/far”. There is also a linkage between his films and the act of creating an installation, since he himself appears in his films, at times in disguise, at others performing various actions in front of the camera. He also engages with the concept of body and its translation into image, much as installation artists do.

Garbuz’s films create an experience of inundation, for they contain a multitude of images. Some are presented in the form of staged or spontaneous scenes that he filmed, while many other images are recycled, for instance excerpts from films and television programs, and still photographs, some of which document his other works, including his paintings. The soundtracks accompanying the films, too, are usually multilayered and composed of narration, music, recordings of street sounds, radio programs, and so forth. Thus, at times it seems that these works constitute visual and audial expression of the artist’s stream of consciousness. There is also a clear connection between the films and his collage works. The films are a collage on a timeline, rather than on the image plane. The materials he uses function as “readymade” elements within the work, as they do in his collage works. There is no hierarchy between types of images, and whether an image is original, reproduced, or recycled is of no significance, which is consistent with the postmodernist approach, whose presence in Israeli art began growing in the 1980s.

Most of the films begin with a song and a black screen, which lasts for several minutes. Garbuz himself attests that this is meant to “calm the viewer, and to create an illusion that the film is going to continue in the same vein, thus creating a pre-effort state”.[1] He views these songs as a gesture of gratitude towards his viewers for the effort they are investing in his film, for their patience, their willingness to overcome the boredom, the absence of a plot, and for his amateurism.

Amateurism and improvisation are key characteristics of the artistic language in Garbuz’s films. In Marks of Indifference: Aspects of Photography in, or as, Conceptual Art, Jeff Wall describes actions of amateurish imitation employed by artists who adopt the photographic medium, and which are performed as part of their conceptual inquiry. This is evident in Garbuz’s films, too, for example in the careless style of filming that creates an impression that the film was not filmed by a professional cameraman, but an amateur. The camera darts around, the shots are not meticulously crafted, and sometimes even seem to be random, and thus too their length and the transitions between them – the cuts. Additionally, amateurism manifests in how Garbuz uses the family-photo genre, and incorporates photographs of his family at home into his films, thus imitating the making of a home video.

Garbuz combines elements from his personal biography with images from local political, social, and artistic history. Using creative, caustic artistic language, he presents a critical attitude in his films, at times cynical or parodical, towards the Zionist ethos, stereotypes and anthropological perceptions of different ethnic groups, and towards the figure of the artist, Israeli art, and especially the photographic medium. Along with his critical attitude, Garbuz’s love of creativeness is evident, and is attended by the explosive energy of artistic endeavor, playfulness, and humor.

 

Written by Yael Gesser.

 

The Public Art and Early Media archive is supported by Artis

 

[1] Yair Garbuz, In All Probability, a Train Will Pass Through Here Soon, Am Oved, Tel Aviv, 2000, p. 227 (Hebrew).

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

The Cinematic Work of Yair Garbuz

Yair Garbuz is best known as a painter, but an important stage in his early work pertains to the films he made in the course of a decade, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. These early films (Notes, 1974; 12.05.1975, 1975; Brothers Maestro, 1975; If Not a Selfish Giant, Then at Least in His Garden, 1979; A Painter, Arab For Instance, 1980) were filmed on Super-8mm film with asynchronous soundtracks. His later films (A Jew, A Frenchman, and An Arab, 1986) were filmed on VHS with synchronous soundtracks. Garbuz is one of the first artists in Israel to engage with projected images.

This cinematic endeavor can be viewed as a continuation of the conceptual inquiry that takes place in Garbuz’s work. His films are experimental, he does not follow the rules of the cinematic medium; most of his works are non-narrative, and serve his engagement with concepts such as “home”, “space”, and “time”, and exploration of dichotomies such as “here/there”, “private/public”, “in/out”, “near/far”. There is also a linkage between his films and the act of creating an installation, since he himself appears in his films, at times in disguise, at others performing various actions in front of the camera. He also engages with the concept of body and its translation into image, much as installation artists do.

Garbuz’s films create an experience of inundation, for they contain a multitude of images. Some are presented in the form of staged or spontaneous scenes that he filmed, while many other images are recycled, for instance excerpts from films and television programs, and still photographs, some of which document his other works, including his paintings. The soundtracks accompanying the films, too, are usually multilayered and composed of narration, music, recordings of street sounds, radio programs, and so forth. Thus, at times it seems that these works constitute visual and audial expression of the artist’s stream of consciousness. There is also a clear connection between the films and his collage works. The films are a collage on a timeline, rather than on the image plane. The materials he uses function as “readymade” elements within the work, as they do in his collage works. There is no hierarchy between types of images, and whether an image is original, reproduced, or recycled is of no significance, which is consistent with the postmodernist approach, whose presence in Israeli art began growing in the 1980s.

Most of the films begin with a song and a black screen, which lasts for several minutes. Garbuz himself attests that this is meant to “calm the viewer, and to create an illusion that the film is going to continue in the same vein, thus creating a pre-effort state”.[1] He views these songs as a gesture of gratitude towards his viewers for the effort they are investing in his film, for their patience, their willingness to overcome the boredom, the absence of a plot, and for his amateurism.

Amateurism and improvisation are key characteristics of the artistic language in Garbuz’s films. In Marks of Indifference: Aspects of Photography in, or as, Conceptual Art, Jeff Wall describes actions of amateurish imitation employed by artists who adopt the photographic medium, and which are performed as part of their conceptual inquiry. This is evident in Garbuz’s films, too, for example in the careless style of filming that creates an impression that the film was not filmed by a professional cameraman, but an amateur. The camera darts around, the shots are not meticulously crafted, and sometimes even seem to be random, and thus too their length and the transitions between them – the cuts. Additionally, amateurism manifests in how Garbuz uses the family-photo genre, and incorporates photographs of his family at home into his films, thus imitating the making of a home video.

Garbuz combines elements from his personal biography with images from local political, social, and artistic history. Using creative, caustic artistic language, he presents a critical attitude in his films, at times cynical or parodical, towards the Zionist ethos, stereotypes and anthropological perceptions of different ethnic groups, and towards the figure of the artist, Israeli art, and especially the photographic medium. Along with his critical attitude, Garbuz’s love of creativeness is evident, and is attended by the explosive energy of artistic endeavor, playfulness, and humor.

 

Written by Yael Gesser.

 

The Public Art and Early Media archive is supported by Artis

 

[1] Yair Garbuz, In All Probability, a Train Will Pass Through Here Soon, Am Oved, Tel Aviv, 2000, p. 227 (Hebrew).

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