Israel Patrons Circle

Assaf Gruber‘TRANSIENT WITNESS’, 2021

Transient Witness, a two-part video, whose main ‘protagonist’ is the avant-garde art collection of Egidio Marzona, which comprises nearly 1.5 million items, including some of the most canonic artworks of the 20th century by artists such as Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and El Lissitzky – whose work is a prime source of inspiration in Gruber’s practice.
Structured into two parts – Deprived Witness and Rude Witness – Transient Witness explores the common features and necessary distinctions between art collections, archives, as well as the various materials and cultural substrata that enable their existence; in doing so, the work narrates the transfer of the objects from the private house of the collector in Berlin to their new domicile – the Japanisches Palais, a Rococo building part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden – through the eyes of three main characters: Christina, the manager of the collection; Maurizio, the art mover who comes to collect the works; and Präsens, the collector’s dog.

Assaf Gruber (*1980, Jerusalem; lives and works in Berlin). Gruber’s films and sculptures deal with the interplay between the ideologies of individuals and their personal biographies; in his practice, he investigates the way in which such interplay shapes and influences private and public spheres. Often using black humor, but with an affectionate touch, both towards art history and his protagonists, Gruber’s artworks inspect how the political orientation of institutions impact the lives of individuals and how biographies both disguise and disclose inherited ideologies.

“Assaf Gruber: Transient Witness”was co-curated by Stefan Aue, Marcelo Rezende, and Pieter Vermeulen and was developed in cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin in the frame of “The Whole Life: An Archive Project.” It is co-produced by the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Germany), Krieg in Hasselt (Belgium), the Botín Foundation in Santander (Spain), CCA Tel Aviv, and Outset Contemporary Art Fund (Israel).