Unsought | Tal Golani

Jerusalem artists' house | March-May 2023

There is no death […]. People die only when we forget them.

– Isabel Allende

In her novel Eva Luna, Isabel Allende writes that the dead live on as long as the living remember them, and that only when forgotten, do they fall into oblivion. The exhibition “Unsought” addresses the passage of time, engaging with loneliness, abandonment, and rift, the sorrow of parting with loved ones, and longing for the good old days, when one could enjoy a warm sense of protection and safety resulting from kind and caring human intimacy. A simple, undoubted feeling, it has now turned into a longing for moments past.

Tal Golani, who laments parting with her grandmother and the untimely death of her beloved sister, expresses these feelings in an indirect, sublimated manner by exploring the skeletal building frames of three luxury hotels. Two of them—President Hotel, Jerusalem, and Elizabeth Hotel (Hotel Genossar)—operated for decades, and in their distant past functioned as elegant sanctuaries of leisure and recreation, while construction of the third hotel, located adjacent to Kiryat Ye’arim, was never completed. All that remains of them today are traces in the form of derelict, bare construction frames alluding to the days in which they offered their guests a delightful refuge from everyday life, a temporary abode for relaxation and healing, and a comforting, cradling promise.

Like memories of the past which flicker momentarily detached from their context, these buildings, whose glory days are behind them, return to consciousness and take their place in the exhibition in their current odd form, battered by the ravages of time and immersed in the distortions of memory. The thin line that separates and connects beauty and ugliness, grandeur and neglect, tells their story.

Curator: Neta Gal-Azmon

Photography: Tal Nissim

Exhibition View

Photography: Elad Sharig, courtesy of the Jerusalem Artists' House
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