Painted wood furniture’s, papier-mâché, plaster, paraffin wax, beeswax, pigments, cotton bandages, metal-wires, sound, car-speaker, 7 stop-motions animations in loop, 7 TV’s and DVD players, 300 x 160 x 120 cm H x B x L
Pleader of mercy
The theatrical installation of Efrat Zehavi depicts the tragic aspect of human existence, not without irony or grotesquery. The installation combines figurative sculptures, décors, photos, video animations and sound. By staging all these elements in a ‘mis en scène’, a spatial dialog is created and by these means various mental conditions are revealed.
The Pleader’s Of Mercy was inspired by the allegorical medieval paintings of the Last Judgment. The Last Judgment is used as a metaphor for contemporary political and social reality. The subject of immigration; indissoluble from subjects as loss of identity and tradition, existential anxiety, violence and xenophobia, alludes to the struggle between the ‘self’ and the ‘other’ and reflects on the relationship between ‘man’ and ‘woman’.
Some of the characters in the animations of Pleader’s Prayer are of Dutch politicians that in the last years were taking a major role in the problematic issue of immigration and integration (like Rita verdonk, Pim Fortuyn en Ayaan Hirsi Ali). The animations present the frustration and powerlessness of mankind in its encounter with the force of (human) nature.
On top of the installation, instead of Jesus, a pleader is enthroned. He sings a prayer from a speaker, and defends humanity beyond Good and Evil.
Article of Athena Newton 2009 Pleader Prayer Art Amsterdam Solo
Undeniably one of the most theatrical exhibits showcased at Art Amsterdam was Efrat Zehavi’s Pleader’s Prayer. The installation presented an extraordinary amount of activity, devoid of conventionality.
An Israeli native, Zehavi aimed to capture the tension and adversity many immigrants face when attempting to start a life in Holland: It’s about the power of politics; the power of religion and how it’s reflected in personal life…
Through this mixed media installation, Zehavi relentlessly explores the grueling, arduous nature of immigration policy. She provokes the spectator to question the unremitting struggle between those in political power and those who are politically powerless.
Contorted figures made of wax, paint, wire, and plaster were suspended from a plethora of wooden chairs, flimsily standing on top of one another. The faces were distorted, lurid, and somewhat menacing. Their dismal appearance emphasized human struggle and tortuous emotion. Amidst this melancholic décor, were television screens rapidly displaying these decapitated, dissembled, grotesque figures in rather compromising positions. Many of the characters represented Dutch politicians: specifically, anti-immigration politicians. Directly above the display sits the advocate: the protector of all humankind
Another striking trait was the subtle, profound addition of A Walk to Caesaria playing in the background. Originally sang in Hebrew, the lyrics intended to highlight the political and social tension between the oppressor and the oppressed:
My God, my God,
May these things never end, The sand of the sea, The rustle of the waters, Light of the heavens
The prayer of man
In both mind and heart, the exhibit evoked a plethora of emotions. If conveying a powerful message was the mission, then mission accomplished.