Gil & Moti’s project The Dutch Volunteers goes on show this autumn at the Nederlands Fotomuseum. The project required the artist duo to enrol as volunteers both in an Israeli settlement and with Palestinians in the West Bank. In order to be permitted to do voluntary work in both territories, the artists took the radical decision to surrender their Israeli nationality and become Dutch citizens. Their new nationality enabled them to visit both sides, something that is impossible for holders of Israeli passports. They visited residents, did voluntary work, took part in everyday life and had a variety of informal discussions with their hosts in both Israeli and Palestinian-controlled areas. All of this was recorded in a multitude of photos and videos made using a smartphone. The result is a three-dimensional installation composed of video images, photographs and sculptures and featuring a physical and symbolic separation between the two worlds. The opening will be accompanied by a performance of Gil & Moti on Saturday November 5th.
Gil & Moti
Ever since 1994, artist duo Gil (b. Israel, 1968) & Moti (b. Israel, 1971) have been engaged in an on-going exploration of identity, the notion of individuality, and related social norms and forms. Their approach is based on a few simple rules: always to dress identically, to do everything together, and to own only one wallet, phone and set of keys between them.
Via performance theatre and small-scale social interventions, they address important socio-political issues, such as discrimination, social exclusion and racism. As artists, a gay couple, immigrants and Jewish born (ex)Israelis, they have direct experience of such issues within their own personal lives. Their appearance invariably causes surprise and amusement, enabling them to raise the subject of identity and otherness in a way that is always subtle and even playful, but no less serious for all that. Gil & Moti’s work consists principally of performances, installations, videos and photographs.
Gil & Moti’s earlier projects also focused on our ideas of identity. In Available for You (2008-2013), for example, they offered various kinds of voluntary assistance to members of local Islamic communities in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Paris and Rotterdam. The result of the project was a video/photo installation. And in their Future Line Tours project (2009 – 2013), the duo used etchings, audio material and slides to create an installation that takes viewers on a virtual sightseeing tour of the ugly, dynamic fringe of Israeli society. In recent years, works by Gil & Moti have been exhibited at Nikolaj Kunsthal (Copenhagen, Denmark), Stavanger Museum of Fine Arts (Stavanger, Norway), TENT (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna, Austria), and elsewhere.
The Dutch Volunteers is sponsored by the Mondriaan Fund and O&O CBK Rotterdam.