Chapter II combines three elements of displacement. Time and place shifted through an association between the history of the Jewish community (the 1960’s) and the history of the LGBT community in those years in São Paulo, Brazil. Gender transition from man to woman, with all of its political connotations, in the Jewish and LGBT communities. The fabricated family story, in which Allon takes a family story of his mother’s two lost uncles who fled from Nazi Germany to Brazil, and their communication with the surviving family that immigrated to Israel. The two uncles merged into one character: the painter of the Jewish community in São Paulo, who communicates with his sibling in Israel while concealing the fact that he is a transgender. During the performance, Allon draws an archive of images in front of the spectators, originated from a mix of family albums and photos from the Jewish community museum and archive of Brazil. The drawings become a letter correspondence between the character and his/her family in Israel. In the process of painting, he makes the transition from Mr. K to Mrs. K
Installation view - mural, acrylic on wooden wall, 4.80x2.30 meter, 2019
Dandira, sound work, written by Dan Allon (text recorded in Portuguese, translated by Mariana Zanetti), 2019:
"Damn Praça da República. Damn police. Damn Barão. Damn Augusta. How dare they, to think they could go with their fancy shiny car, and pick her like a piece of meat? To take her into the shadows, and beat her? And the police knew all about her, and did nothing about it?! Poor Dandira. And her damn mother? She says she hugged her, but still calls her “the best son.” She said Dandira was in a good place in life, but “look what happened to him! They killed him like they killed Jesus Christ!”… Look what happened, it’s your fault! They dragged her, beat with a stick, beat her with a rock. Everything. Animals. And everybody around dared to see the lynch, and do nothing. They just took a peak from the closed windows. She died asking for water. I don’t know what I am going to do without you, Dandira. I don’t know what I am going to do without you."
Actress: Telma Vieira
Recording and editing: AP Leinonen
Installation view from Fresh Paint, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2019
Photos from Museu Guido Viaro, Curitiba, Brazil
Ghost and Golem chapter 2 / Mr/Mrs K - solo performance in various length, installation and a sound work (loop)
Sabra Festival, Brazil x Israel: Museu Guido Viaro, Curitiba, Brazil. Curator: Marina Ramos
The Group exhibition Fronteiras Indigestas, Contemporão Project Space, São Paulo, Brazil. Curator: Yiftah Peled.
Photos: Guilherme Negrão.
Fresh Paint, Expo Tel Aviv, Israel. Curator: Raz Shapira Fainburg.
Photos: Dor Kedmi and Lilach Raz.
The group exhibition Displacement at Musrara Mix Festival, Jerusalem, Israel. Curator: Sharon Horodi.
Curator Marina Ramos:
"The idea of a "golem" has biblical origins: Adam was an unshaped "golem" made of dust before he became a man. This concept comes from a Hebrew word, which means something incomplete or unfinished. In Jewish mysticism - Kabbalah - golem is a clay creature that is brought to life through magic, and the kabbalists saw this procedure as a kind of alchemie task, which is one of the most important and powerful processes in the materialistic world: creation itself. Dan Allon uses this word to name his performance series: Ghost and Golem. Ghost representing the echo of the dead, while Golem carries the potential for resurrection. The work presented for Sabra Festival in Guido Viaro Museum is the following chapter of the artist’s research. In the first chapter of Ghost and Golem(see below), Allon played a guard/ archivist/ artist who kept Allon’s family stories embodied in drawings which were kept safe inside boxes. These images convey a mixture of real and fictional events about Allon's grandparents' lives, which took place in foreign lands. In this part of the project, Dan Allon arrived in Brazil willing to unroll his work based on two of his family members that ran away from the Holocaust to São Paulo: two of his mother’s uncles. The artist researched their lives in order to detect real information in the Jewish immigration archives and through remaining family members. A part of Allon’s process was to make up a character out of his imagination, based on what those uncles could have been. In this performance, he plays a combination of what it is really known and invented about these two figures, which the result is a queer artist living in the 60-70’s São Paulo, called Mr/Mrs. K. Ashamed to expose his identity to his family in Israel, Mr/Mrs. K sends drawings that portray his supposed “normal” life in Brazil. Reality and fiction are diffused in Allon’s work and that’s where the magic happens. Appropriating the myths of the Kabbalah, the artist creates his own golem as he brings him to life using his body and imagination. As creation is a very strong phenomenon, the artist grants life to his past and shapes it on his own terms."
Special thanks to:
Eduardo Cardoso Amato, Sabra Festival, Museu Guido Viaro, Tal Alperstein, Tal Rosen, Elaine Peled, Maira Vaz Valente
Thanks to: Mariana Zanetti
Special thanks to the Jewish Museum of São Paulo (Museu Judaico) and the team of the Centro de Memória do Museu Judaico (Pinheiros)
The archive of Mr/Mrs K (scroll with the arrows to see all the images)
Chapter I aims to reconstruct concepts of biography and family ethos, blending it into a fabricated archive of collective stories. The exhibition’s installation approach echoes an archive, and consist three parallel stories: Allon’s grandmother, Mazal, falls in love with the Spanish dictator Franco. Allon’s grandfather, Max, escapes the Nazis with the help of German sportswoman Ilse Thouret and, a story of a Dybbuk box – starting in the Holocaust, and ending in Australia. As in an archive, the visitors are welcome to browse through the “material,” but only under the supervision of the guard: Allon himself. These three stories put a light on the typical biographical tale we tell ourselves. Allon is not into facts but is very interested in an apparatus, which makes us hold a narrative from generation to generation.
Ghost & Golem chapter 1, solo exhibition, B#S Gallery, Treviso, Italy, 2018, curator: Revital Michali, gallery curator: Chiara Isadora Artico
Curator Chiara Isadora Artico:
"In the following version of Chapter I of Ghost & Golem, Allon sharpens and emphasizes acting and interacting through the work. While in the Berlin version of the project he portrayed all three characters at the same time for one evening, in Italy the project expanded, lasting three days. It enabled Allon to "split" his personality, portraying each character for one whole day. The hipster-artist Ariel Shilo, the one who stands behind the artworks of the archive, drew a time overlapping wall piece, containing sunset, a poster announcing Franco's death and a struggling through mud Ilse Thouret. The next day, German-born Israeli-inhabitant archivist Hermann Schein explained the artworks to the spectators, giving them contradiction explanations. The last day, was the shining moment of Alexander Bronner, archive guard, who did all in his capability to sabotage the experience of the visitors, constantly interrupting with their try to look through the artworks. Schizophrenic and dictator-like, Allon exposes the visitors to a funny, ironic, and confusing work."
Curator: Revital Michali
Gallery curator: Chiara Isadora Artico
Thanks to: Gallery photographer (David), Kurnia Rahmawati,
Photos: Mattia Carrer, Kurnia Rahmawati, Eva Folegotto
Special thanks: Mariana Zanetti
Ghost & Golem chapter 1, solo exhibition, Hilbert Raum Gallery Berlin, curator: Revital Michali
Curator Revital Michali:
"The guard/archivist has a fixed daily routine. His schedule is rigid. Every morning he hangs his jacket on the wall, and then passes between the exhibits, making sure they are safe and intact. He then examines the map of the world, straightening any crooked and displaced item. Though he has seen it many times, he takes the time to stop and contemplate of the brown Dybbuk box, pondering of those who have held it in the past. Who were those people? The items tell their story, and he knows it by heart. At times different story comes up, unfolding as he walks around in between the objects. He usually keeps it to himself, with some rare exceptions. It is an intimate story, of people who ones were alive, but the reality is blurred, and from time to time, he wonders: is it the story of their lives, or his own? These moments usually happen when an unexpected visitor enters the room, starting to walk restlessly, studying the exhibits, rummaging through documents, pictures. He impatiently asks for more information, continually asking questions.The guard/archivist does not lose his face, and answers in a cold, measured voice. He also often reproaches the spectator to be careful while going through the exhibits. No cell phones allowed. He is devoted to his work, but at the same time, he has a free eye to watch the random spectator, servile them. He wishes to share the knowledge, but can only reveal the full impact of history coming to life, after the spectator is gone."
Sound Development City team, with special thanks to Martin Heller, Duscha Kistler and Andalus, and Sound Development team, for their great contribution to the birth of the project.
Special thanks: Daniel Wiesenfeld, Mariana Zanetti, Duscha Kistler and the curatorial crew of SDC, Laurence Marien and the crew of Het Entrepot
Photos: Adi Levy
Assistant: Caroline Chaves
The archive of Max Kessel (scroll with the arrows to see all the images)
The archive of Mazal Swissa (scroll with the arrows to see all the images)
Performance in Morocco, 2016