El Al, Acrilan, Styrofoam, graphite, felt and steel wool, (installation view), 2017, Photo: Marco Secchi, Getty Images for Israeli Pavilion
El Al, Acrilan, Styrofoam, graphite, felt and steel wool, (detail) 2017, Photo: Marco Secchi, Getty Images for Israeli Pavilion
El Al and Jezreel Valley in the Dark, (installation view), 2017, Photo: Claudio Franzini
Jezreel Valley in the Dark, Polyurethane, coffee, and sugar, (installation view), May 2017, Photo: Claudio Franzini
Jezreel Valley in the Dark, Polyurethane, coffee, and sugar, (detail), May 2017, Photo: Claudio Franzini
Sun Stand Still is a site-specific installation that premiered at the Israeli pavilion of la Biennale di Venezia. Exploring the human desire to stop time and reflecting a fascination with actual and potential forms of creation and destruction, progress and devastation, Gal Weinstein’s project critically engages with the mythological and Romantic images embedded in Israel’s collective memory.
The installation’s title refers to the biblical miracle performed by the ancient Israelite leader Yehoshua Bin-Nun, who sought to win his battle against the kings of Canaan before darkness fell. By focusing on material manifestations of temporality, Weinstein probes the relations between symbolism and concrete appearances. Weinstein’s unique choice of materials — metallic wool, unraveled felt, Acrilan pillow stuffing, coffee, and mold — enables him to blur the boundaries between uncontrollable organic processes and the controlled practices of agriculture and technology.
The aggressive, anxiety-provoking presence of a missile, the colonies of mold, and the images of decline and neglect may all be read as metaphors for the melancholy of a shattered vision and of missed opportunities, the anxiety of the end, and premonitions of disaster and destruction.
Tami Katz-Freiman, curator of Sun Stand Still, explains, “I like to interpret the entire installation as a melancholic-poetic allegory of the Israeli story: a story that include miraculous acts and moments of enlightenment as well as neglect and destruction, a story vacillating between a megalomaniacal soaring to great heights and a resounding crash.”