Art in at the deep blue end

Art in at the deep blue end

On Wednesday evening, the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem will have a touch of the blues, although there shouldn’t be a mournful eye in the house.

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The museum’s annual summertime arts festival goes by the name of Andrelamuse Blues and casts its net over a broad stretch of disciplines and art forms. The full rundown takes in a concert by a trio, plus a couple of guest musicians, led by internationally renowned jazz pianist Omri Mor, who has a penchant for liberally seasoning his improvisational output with Andalusian motifs and colors, with video art displays, sound meditation, performances and meetings with artists also on offer during the course of the evening. The current “Out of the Blue” exhibition will also be open for public viewing.

One of the visual highlights of the program will be a site-specific video art installation courtesy of Shlomit Yaakov. The 35-year-old Jerusalemite feels a strong bond with her hometown and says she feeds off its energies and deep-seated vibes.

“I have never felt the need to leave this city,” she says. Considering the ongoing mass migration of young artists and young people in general, down to the western end of Road 1, that is both surprising and refreshing. “This city is constantly evolving, with culture and content, and the emphasis placed on young people. And there are artists here who used to work sort of underground, and they are being given spaces by the municipality. Sometimes I am a part of that, and sometimes I am a culture consumer.”

Encouraging words indeed, for those of us who naturally assume that youngsters, and particularly artists just starting out, have little to keep them in the capital.

Yaakov is firmly rooted in Jerusalem, and has made a habit of utilizing some of the capital’s structures to her own creative ends. There are several buildings along Jaffa Road that have been aesthetically embellished by her projected images and shapes, and the 19th-century Alliance House – currently home to quite a few cultural enterprises, such as Musicavasheket, aka School of Music and Silence – which is due to be turned into a boutique hotel in about a year or so. Yaakov has also worked with a number of high-profile musicians, including global reggae star Ziggy Marley.

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“I have been doing screenings on buildings for quite a few years now,” says Yaakov. “You can call them precision screenings.” The façade of the Jerusalem Theater is among those that have benefited from Yaakov’s projected artistry.

She says she has plenty of inviting substrata to choose from in a city known for its masonry. “Jerusalem is full of beautiful historic buildings.” And there are plenty more where they came from. “It doesn’t matter where I look, or how many times I’ve been to a particular part of Jerusalem, I always find some building I hadn’t noticed before, and I think, Wow! I’d love to project something on that one, too.”

Yaakov’s creations are always one-offs, and tailored to the host structure. Her Bible Lands work will be called “Out of the Blue” and will reference the idea of the terrestrial Jerusalem and the celestial counterpart.

“There is a model of Jerusalem at the museum, and I was asked to screen the ‘reflection’ of Jerusalem, which will correspond to heavenly Jerusalem. I want the work to convey the idea of the spirit of Jerusalem,” she says.

There will be another screened Yaakov work which, she says, will feed off the complex surface composition of the backdrop in question. “It will be decorative, but I think also interesting from a textural point of view.”

Either way, there will be plenty to see and hear at the Bible Lands Museum on Wednesday.

For tickets and details: (02) 561-1066 and http://www.blmj.org/en