The Biographies of Amos Gitai

February 5 – May 19, 2014 /
Sabatini Building, Floor 3

This exhibition has as its point of departure the content and the documentary and (auto)biographical tendency of the films of Amos Gitai (Haifa, Israel, 1950). Initially trained as an architect (a career he did not pursue because he did not wish to contribute to the colonization of the Occupied Territories), Gitai has always, since the beginning of his filmmaking activity, made use of pre-existing footage and montage as a means to analyse and dissect the connection between biography and history, between individual fate and collective fate. The show, which can be considered a case study within the research process undertaken with the exhibition Biographical Forms.Construction and individual mythology, gives us a close-up look at the constellation of characters that Gitai has developed and portrayed over the years, characters whose biographies, often condemned to anonymity and silence, are always inscribed in a complex historical and geographic framework containing multiple layers.

In an attempt to recreate the hybrid nature of cinematographic art, a form of story-telling that allows for an assemblage of different biographical elements, the exhibition is based on the juxtaposition and interaction of various types of documentary materials (mostly from his own personal archives) with fragments of his films. The exhibition analyses how this filmmaker, who has always understood cinema as a way of intervening in public space and current affairs, has interpreted and narrated his own genealogy, paying special attention to the influence that, for very different reasons, his parents had on his personality and on his professional activity. His father, Munio Weinraub, an architect linked to the Bauhaus movement, had to leave Germany when Hitler came to power. His mother, Efratia Margalit, was of Russian origin, and her family had settled in Jaffa at the beginning of the 20th century (that is, four decades before the founding of the state of Israel). 

With their long sequence shots, their choppy editing style and their constant search for critical distance, the films of Amos Gitai aim to question and rise above the distinction so often made between documentary and fiction. His works show how the experience of exile and war becomes inscribed in people’s gestures and bodies, they explore the relationship between construction and violence (especially evident in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where architecture has been used consciously and systematically as a tool for appropriation and territorial control) and they describe situations of slavery that are being generated (or updated or perpetuated) by neoliberal globalisation.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro Arte Reina Sofía
Jean-François Chevrier
Amos Gitai
In collaboration with: