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Nomadic Performance and Video Artist Gregory Abou on Finding HOME From Israel to the Polar Circle

By Galit Reismann

Published Apr 15, 2023

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Gregory Abou on HOME

Above: (2 min) Trailer for AREYOUTHERE, 2009-2014. Gregory Abou. Exhibited at the Herzliya Museum 2019. Curator: Yona Fisher.

 

Galit Reismann (GR): As a performance and video artist, you communicate your ideas in a unique way and embody them in your own self-story and in researching the meaning of home. You were born and lived in France for most of your mature life and made Aliyah to Israel in 2013. Please share how your interpretation of home was developed. 

Gregory Abou (GA): I create projects that take years of construction and are all related to each other. Through performance and video installations, that I produce in nature and in the world, I search constantly for the meaning of home. I position myself as the main character and explore the existence between the spiritual home and the physical home. I transit between countries that have relationships to express the global reference for my home. 

 

GR: Can you give examples of works so we can understand better your narrative?  

GA: Of course. In my first work AREYOUTHERE I searched for the meaning of three words: “present,” “disappear,” and “absent.” I used to leave France to travel, usually to the south, but it was one time that I traveled north and reached the amazing island of Gotland in Sweden. I was searching for a quiet and isolated place and found it in a hut, without water and electricity, by the sea. It reminded me of the feeling of being for the first time in Israel at the Dead Sea”. The feeling of an inner quiet place. Those two places became the ground of my project.

In my second work JETESAIS (I know you), the search was for the invisible world. My soul and spirit were longing to reach the edge of the world, and so I crossed the boundaries of my home and reached the northern point where all light matters, in Norway at the Polar Circle. In this project, Norway, Israel (Kziv River and Shivta), and Japan (Yakushima Island), merge into one physical experience in which I communicate with my god through nature and deal with the raw material within us.  

 

GR: I know that through your current project, you are going to complete the trilogy of a journey, and reach its climax in BEITH. The fact that you are still working on it makes it fascinating to hear about your process and ideas.   

GA: After ten years in Israel, I am still looking for my place and what Israel is for me. The ongoing search led me to return to the base of the work, so I started to research archaeological sites. The search in this project is about wandering and returning to the source of human beings. I chose Israel and Egypt as the center of the project, and I am investigating Jewish identity and the exodus from Egypt.  

I am pursuing the question: “What is a home today?” in front of modern humanity, cut off from its nomadic origins. This is a project about building a home conceptually. I created a tent inspired by the Tabernacle, which can move with the person in space and nature. 

 

GA: So how do you sum up the meaning of the home for you in Israel in 2023? 

GA: Home is a feeling. I came to the conclusion that the feeling of home begins from within, to find our inner center. Of course, we need the physical home, but there is always the inner voice that longs to live in nature, in a tribal and nomadic way. That’s why the project I’m working on offers a series of light objects and houses that can be moved. The project invites us to think about our living conditions today in 2023, especially in a small and crowded land such as Israel. The project invites us to think about today’s conditions and link us to our past in ancient civilization. 

 

 

Gregory Abou, performance and video artist (b. Melun, France, 1974, lives and works in Tel Aviv-Yafo since 2013), was recently showcased in the journal As Promised. Abou directs and films himself on location in natural and historic sites using unique scripts of personal ritual and objects of his own design. His work promotes mindfulness and sustainability. He has been awarded artist residencies in Gotland, Sweden (2009); the archipelago Lofoten, Norway (2016); the Yakushima Forest, Japan (2017); and Israel. He completed studies in communications, and at the National School of Decorative Arts, Paris, before opening a studio for creative visual arts. In 2006, he was invited by the multifaceted Mathias Kiss to exhibit at his experimental gallery in the Marais Quarter. In 2012, his series AREYOUTHERE, 2009, was shown alongside prominent artists Matali Crasset and Arik Levy at the Grand Palais Art Paris Art Fair and as a solo exhibition at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art in 2019, curated by Yona Fischer. In 2016, his film Kinah (Lament) was part of a major group exhibition with Marina Abramovic and Louise Bourgeois: À l’ombre d’Éros (In the Shadow of Eros) at the Royal Monastery of Brou.

 

Contact:

Artist: Gregoryabou@gmail.com  

Curator: galit@tlvstyle.com 

AREYOUTHERE

Above: AREYOUTHERE / Israel, The Dead Sea 2013. Gregory Abou. Exhibited at the Herzliya Museum 2019. Curator: Yona Fisher.

 

AREYOUTHERE

Above: AREYOUTHERE / Gotand, Untitled September 2009. Gregory Abou. Exhibited at the Herzliya Museum 2019. Curator: Yona Fisher.

JETESAIS (I know you)

Above: JETESAIS (I know you), 2016-2020. Gregory Abou. Presented in the Ein Harod Museum 2021. Curators: Yaniv Shapira and Batsheva Goldman.

JETESAIS (I know you)

Above: JETESAIS (I know you), 2016-2020. Gregory Abou. Presented in the Ein Harod Museum 2021. Curators: Yaniv Shapira and Batsheva Goldman.

JETESAIS (I know you)

Above: JETESAIS (I know you), 2016-2020. Gregory Abou. Presented in the Ein Harod Museum 2021. Curators: Yaniv Shapira and Batsheva Goldman.

BEITH

Above: BEITH, 2021 – Ongoing. Gregory Abou. 

BEITH

Above: BEITH, 2021 – Ongoing. Gregory Abou. 

BEITH

Above: (1 min) BEITH, 2021 – Ongoing. Gregory Abou. 

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Galit Reismann is a cultural entrepreneur and female executive, combining her passion for fashion and connection to Tel Aviv.

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