Having just graced Jerusalem with their presence, and leaving an undeniable impression on art-goers throughout the city, artistic duo Limor Tamir and Yaniv Amar are off with a bang. Their latest installation Hannah_Land was a success, part of Ticho House’s Zoom 2016 exhibition, which featured a select group of 20 emerging Israeli artists .
Among the other works that were part of Zoom 2016, Limor & Yaniv’s site-specific installation was separate in its extravagance. It stood adjacent to the exhibition’s main location at a site on 45 Hanevi’im Street–the building most synonymous with Jerusalem’s Yad Sarah organization ( an organization that lends medical equipment to those in need).
From the exterior, it seemed similar to many of Jerusalem’s unassuming art venues, resembling a small apartment building of Jerusalem stone. But inside, Limor & Yaniv transformed each level of the building into its own unapologetic, beautiful but distinctly twisted world.
Upon walking in, I was immediately confronted with the spooky energy of an abandoned home. I stepped into a room filled with sand on the floor and Barbie legs on the walls…it was, how do I put this? Ballsy…full of possibilities. And I love that kind of greatness in a production.
Hannah Land’s makeup was influenced by stories of Anna & Avraham Ticho and their struggle with infertility, the building’s historical connection to Yad Sarah, and other, more personal connections to the artists. The rooms full of complex creations, sculptures and found objects turned the audience’s attention to issues that are on the ‘Limor & Yaniv radar’–present-day issues, dealing with commercialism, gender, corroding childhood, disruption, distortion, religion and politics.
The materials Limor and Yaniv use encapsulate stark low-brow aesthetics with sophisticated messages, unreservedly using some of the following in Hanna_Land: dismantled Barbie dolls, children’s clothing, park slides, fountains, stuffed animals, kitschy chandeliers, medical equipment, sand, animals preserved in formaldehyde… (no kidding!).
In general, Limor & Yaniv work as a team; discussing and arguing, brainstorming ideas, and finally, manifesting them into the form of complex installations in abandoned, often run-down locations. Simultaneously deconstructing and building, the duo will clean and gut-out their site in order to install their unique studio creations and visions.
This artistic venture, called #crashinstudio, has and will continue to lead them to ‘crash’ in on new locations. Like Hannah_Land, each project addresses the specific history of it’s location while the artists insert motifs based on their own agenda.
The results are without a doubt, exaggerated and overwhelming; but it works. Visitors walk into the art, surrounded, becoming instantly in-dialogue with the crux of the message. From here, it’s as if the audience is forced to mimic the artists–discussing the issues at hand, arguing about them and raising questions.
I recently sat down with Limor and Yaniv to learn more about their individual influences, what it’s like to work as a team and what they’re doing now that Hannah_Land is finished! Artists, mad scientists, contractors, teachers, movers and shakers…these are the two and only, Limor and Yaniv:
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
Limor: Kazimir Malevich, Frida Kahlo, Anish Kapoor, Lars Von Trier, Santiago Sierra, Valie Export, David Lachapelle, Damien Hirst, Louise Bourgeois., Salvador Dali, Yayoi Kusama—and every passionate person who really lives and breathes his or her inspiration into reality.
Yaniv: Da Vinci, also looking at the environment as an artistic influence–the innate need for creation.
Can you name one pro and one con of working as a duo?
Limor: Pros – Double power, ideas, creativity and critiques. Cons -The fights (but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger).
Yaniv: Pros – two bodies working together Cons – two minds crashing into each other.
While creating Hannah Land, what was your experience working in Jerusalem compared to other places you’ve worked?
Limor: The amazing thing is that in each place where Yaniv and I work, it quickly becomes a microcosm of things we find–the news, the stories, the gossip. It becomes a bubble that we enter in the morning and sometimes doesn’t burst it until the night fall. The rare encounters with HaNevi’im street, the very large variety of Jewish, Muslim and Christians; Orthodox mixed with non-religious, with hippies and people from all over the world was very surprising! And the long drive with a bit of Jerusalem sickness in each journey.
Yaniv: Jerusalem is a hard place to live in. It’s a city of many faces, many cultures and within these are days full of hate. I wish it would become a peaceful place where cultures can melt together freely and become a nonviolent city.
Your installations’ messages come partly from your own artistic mission and agenda, but are also largely influenced by their location–what comes first? Do you know what kind of message you want to deliver when you are choosingr a location or do you wait until you find the location to define the message?
Limor: My mind, feelings and agendas are a bit like cookie dough, I’m just waiting to pour it in, and each time, with each place, the cookie shape may be different but it is the same quality and taste. Generally, I’m attracted and devoted to certain kinds of issues: the broken, the left behind, the unreal and unfair, cruelty, death/life relationships, the unspoken, the unheard, etc.
Yaniv: We have many subjects on our mind, fire is burning our fingers and creation is the birth of all this, but somehow when we find a place, the influence of the space finds the way to a subject that fits.
What’s up next for Limor & Yaniv?
Right now we are working on a national Israeli project with the Ministry of Construction and Housing called Wake the City: We’re High-Tech and Skyscrapers Are Evolving and Spreading. We are making a small garden bloom in the forgotten places in between the Ramat Gan buildings which will open in January.
And next, looking for interesting abandoned places in Israel or outside the borders, sponsors and collaborators for the next big thing…the sky is the limit!
Written by Jenna H. Romano. Photos courtesy of the artists.