In this segment of Artis’ audio interview series, we speak with New York-based artist Alona Weiss about monuments, movement, and memory.
In her practice, Alona critically examines the transient nature of belief systems, and interpretations of public monuments, to create opportunities for social re-imagining. In Israel today, there are over 3,000 public monuments. Alona talks about these monuments as representative of ideologies and power structures that reinforce narratives and collective memories in the public sphere. Using performative interventions to interact with public sculpture, Alona ruminates on the physical and conceptual ways that monuments uphold legacies. In Alona’s video Kiss a Statue (2016) (pictured above), two performers practice acrobatic yoga on the site of a brutalist public sculpture, created in 1968 by the artist Yigal Tumarkin. This sculpture, Mitzpe Mo’av, is located in a remote location in Arad, Israel. The performers engage in balancing movements that require a precise distribution of weight, given the uneven surface of Tumarkin’s work. Closeness, communication, and trust are key components of the choreography, alluding to shifts in the ways we treat and relate to one another, and address the past, in public space.
This interview was conducted in the spring of 2020, and edited for conciseness. It is part of Artis’ audio series, Signals from the Studio… where we speak with artists from Israel, and delve into current topics in contemporary art and culture that they address in their practice. Signals from the Studio… is produced by Artis and made in partnership with journalist, urbanist, and writer, Yonatan H. Mishal, who hosts the interviews.
Alona Weiss is a visual artist born in Israel and based in Brooklyn, NY. She works with video, performance, text, graphic design, and installation, to explore the transient nature of belief systems, and the interpretation of public monuments. Recent presentations include: The Hall of Fame For Great Americans (Bronx, New York); 601 Artspace (New York); Lesley Heller Workspace (New York); The Haifa Museum of Art (Israel); Columbia University School of The Arts (New York);The Beijing Film Triennial (China); Arad Contemporary Art Center (Israel); El Museo de Los Sures, (Brooklyn); The Kitchen (New York); Genia Schreiber Gallery (Tel Aviv); Local Projects (Queens), and Fikra Biennial (United Arab Emirates). She received an Master of Fine Arts from Parsons, The New School, NY, and a Bachelor of Design from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, in Jerusalem. www.alonaweiss.com
Yonatan H. Mishal is an urban explorer and writer, based in New York City. He currently works with the United Nations, in the department of global communications, and as a correspondent for Erev-Rav arts and culture magazine in Israel. His writing includes investigative journalism, commentary, reviews, interviews and art critique. His ongoing project in the past ten years of conducting interviews with curators and artists, aims to draw a real-time, first hand picture of the Israeli art scene.
Readings recommended by Alona Weiss
Reading that influences Alona Weiss' art practice:
Recent articles and discussions on monuments and history
Recommended by artist Alona Weiss