For the tenth anniversary of the gallery.
Exhibition "Jerusalem Syndrome" go on till Desember!
For the tenth anniversary of the “Beyt Naima” gallery
In Jerusalem hospitals, a few beds are set aside for people suffering from “Jerusalem Syndrome.” This strange condition affects certain visitors to the city: some begin preaching, others see themselves as the Messiah, and others throw themselves under the wheels of moving cars. While many professional explanations have been suggested for this phenomenon, none of them fully account for all its symptoms.
Psychiatrists describe it as a form of religious mania occurring among Christian pilgrims. However, this strange condition in various forms also affects a wide range of other people. Among some people, this syndrome is especially severe during the hamsin, airflow with dust containing sand or stone particles that comes from the desert. Such weather conditions occur for about ten days a year (the source of the word hamsin in Hebrew is hamishim, which means fifty), and on such days, there is less oxygen in the air, and the dust flow or pressure is palpable. Some Middle Eastern countries have even introduced legislation reducing punishment for crimes carried out during hamsin periods.
Indeed, there are many reasons for amazement and confusion in Jerusalem: the mixture of overlapping periods; superimposed archeological layers; the remains of the First and Second Temple; the Western Wall; Roman ruins; Arab settlements hundreds of years old; buildings from the Ottoman and British Mandate and Ottoman periods; and the combination of subtropical climate and hilly terrain.
Galei-Dana and Nekoda Singer published their neo-eclectica manifesto about a quarter of a century ago. The Nachlaot group of Jeusalem neighbourhoods was among their sources of inspiration. It is relevant to mention that the first-century Greek philosopher Potamon from Alexandria first coined the term eclectica to describe his new school of philosophy based on the combination of styles, ideas and views (eclectica or ἐκλεκτός in Greek means selected).
Even today, on the way to the Mahne Yehuda market, you can meet the local Jaconda dressed modestly in black with her band of young daughters; the “Anglo-Saxon” Henry VIII, wearing the kaffiyeh he bought for next to nothing; the Medici brothers who stopped to chat for a moment with the Great Pharaoh Thutmose on the news with the first football league, and the infuriating rise in prices. None of them have the slightest inclination of the complexities of the game in which they are participating. Thank God for these eclectic and pluralistic Jerusalem neighbourhoods! They provide real insights into the phrase, “the ingathering of exiles.” Our day-to-day life reflects the fact that the many ethnic groups neither settle down in separate communities nor merge into the general mass, but create a spontaneous mixture. It was not by chance that the so-called meorav Yerushalmi, both the most original and the most eclectic dish, was invented here.
Jerusalem continually renews itself, while at the same time not losing its unique face. This is the place where artists feel free to search for new expressions among the alte zachen of the Jewish/Christian/Muslim civilizations and the remains of traditional culture.
Thus, the central question begged by this joint exhibition, what unites all these various artists, sculptors, photographers and installation performers, is rendered completely irrelevant. It is merely an expression of the richness and variety of Jerusalem’s cultural life. Our current “Jerusalem Syndrome” focusses on its multi-faceted nature.