četvrtak, 12. lipnja 2014.

Roee Rosen - Live and Die as Eva Braun (1995-1997)

Roee Rosen, A still from The Buried Alive Group Videos: Historical Joke # 3, featuring Scandar Copti with Elad Hayman, Ruth Patir and Lucy Dubinchik, 2013; Part of the exhibition Roee Rosen and Zbigniew Libera, Judgement Night, Galeria Labirynt, Lublin, May 16 – June 29, 2014, and the program Roee Rosen, Buried Alive, lecture, screening and live music, Documentary Forum 3, Haus der kulturen der welt, Berlin, June 1st, 9PM

Povijest je dobar disfunkcionalni vic.
Etičke dileme? Jednu s krumpirima i salatom, molim.

Roee Rosen (b. 1963) is an Israeli-American artist, writer and filmmaker. He teaches art and theory at the Bezalel Academy of Art, Jerusalem, among other places. Rosen’s painting and text installation, Live and Die as Eva Braun (1995-1997) stirred a political scandal when first exhibited at the Israel Museum. Later, Linda Nochlin wrote in Artforum: “…The experience of Live and Die, both textual and visual, is unforgettable, like nothing else.”
Rosen dedicated years to his fictive feminine persona, the Jewish-Belgian Surrealist painter and pornographer Justine Frank. The project culminated in Frank’s retrospective (Herzliya Museum, 2003; Extra-City, Antwerp, 2009), a short film entitled Two Women and a Man (special mention, Oberhausen film festival, 2005), and a book, Justine Frank, Sweet Sweat , recently published in English (Sternberg Press, 2009).
Rosen latest film project, The Confessions of Roee Rosen (2008), consists of three short films, and an hour long feature. Confessions premiered at the FIDMarseille last year, where it won a special mention, and was later shown at Manifesta 7 and elsewhere. - www.aspectmag.org/people/roee-rosen
Video, 34 minutes, 2010

Out presents a domination/ submission scene set in a mundane living room. The increasing pain prompts the sub to spew out not only cries of pleasure and pain, but also sentences. The scene thus connotes both confessions under torture, and rituals of exorcism, even as it remains a documentation of willful pleasure, being that both participants are not actresses, but members of the Israeli BDSM community.The demon who speaks through the sub, is and isn’t herself. In fact, the sentences are all quotes of Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, one of the most extreme right wing politicians in Israel.
The ritual is framed by two scenes. A preceding interview with the two participants seems at the beginning to be a straightforward documentary, but transforms into an exposition of the narrative premise by which one is possessed, the other an exorcist. The final musical scene is a song set to the words of the Russian poet Esenin’s Letter to Mother. Executed as a one-shot, the song is a direct, if twisted, homage to the final scene of another film that deals with radical sexuality and politics: Dusan Makavejev’s WR, The Mystery of the Organism.

Olaf Möller, “Hurts So Good, The Patently Provocative Roee Rosen,” Film Comment, January-February 2011, pp. 20-21

Jean Pierre Rehm, “The Infamous Lives of Roee Rosen,” Cinema Scope, issue 47, summer 2011, pp. 15-17

Shelley Harten, “Between Two Worlds, Exorcism, Gender, and the Israeli Nation in Roee Rosen’s Tse,” Kunsttexte.de, January, 2011

Video, 21 minutes, 2010

Hilarious, The Script (2010)

Hilarious is set to examine the possibility of dysfunctional humor and laughter stirred when there is no reason to laugh. Hilarious presents a stand up monologue of a female comedian performing live in front of a studio audience. If humor is a mechanism set to cope in particular ways with disturbing, sometimes forbidden topics, this performance not only offsets these structures through their failure, but also offers a different manifestation of these topics, left exposed without the guise of laughter.

Roee Rosen, “Towards the Work Hilarious, Former Cases of Dysfunctional Humor,”

 The Confessions of Roee Rosen


At the beginning of Confessions Roee Rosen declares that now that he is about to die, he disavows a career replete with lies, scandals, and fake identities. and joins the confessional tradition that leads from St. Augustine to American TV.

These confessions, however, are delivered by female surrogates – Roee Rosen 1, 2 and 3 – three illegal foreign workers residing in Israel. They deliver the monologues in Hebrew, a language they do not speak, by reading a transliteration of the text to Latin letters from a teleprompter. Marks on the teleprompter scroll indicated to the performers to occasionally mimic the body movements and facial expressions of the real Roee Rosen, at the other side of the camera. The text is built as a hybrid: on the one hand, it offers a rather dubious account of my own “crimes,” but on the other hand, it is partially plausible as a monologue of a foreign worker. The Confessions are divided by musical interludes performed by The Roee Rosen Confessions Ensemble, featuring exclusively women musicians. Thus, the film is an all-women affair. The songs are three classics of different genres, dealing with dying and perversion: the aria of the death of Dido by Henry Purcell, the gospel-folk I’ll Fly Away, and Iggy Pop’s I Wanna Be Your Dog. All three songs were translated to Hebrew and arranged especially for these performances.
 The Confessions cycle features three supplementary works, echoing the commodity logic of “special additions:” a trailer (Confessions Coming Soon), a music clip (I Was Called Kuny-Lemel), and a gag-reel (Gagging During Confession).

Justine Frank, Roee Rosen, Sweet Sweat. Sternberg Press, 2009.

“What are you doing after the orgy?” Jean Baudrillard once perversely asked. I would answer: just read Roee Rosen. Rosen came after the orgy, and he knows it. With Sweet Sweat, he is bringing in for a last call all the erotic avant-gardes of the West. But he can only do it with a vengeance – by writing himself into the picture. Erudite, baroque, a dazzling writer and painter but maniacal and all-encompassing in his approach, he keeps erasing the fine line that separates fiction and truth, imagination and reality, just as Sade and Lautréamont have done before him. But this division doesn’t exist anymore. What makes his summa erotica erotic is that, for him as for Georges Bataille, pornography is philosophy.—Sylvère Lotringer

Sweet Sweat
, the only novel by Belgian artist Justine Frank, is unusual, to say the least—a blend of feminism, pornography, Judaism, and art, written in French in 1931. Its heroine is a Jewish girl named Rachel, born in the South of France, who has an outstanding talent for debauchery and crime. She takes up with the sybaritic Count Urdukas and sets out with him on an odyssey of pleasure and corruption marked by bizarre events in which horror and humor mingle. This comprehensive new edition of Frank’s novel includes an essay and an extensive biography by Israeli American writer and artist Roee Rosen and a timeline tracing key moments in Frank’s life, providing a definitive analysis of this once-scandalous novel and its historical and cultural contexts.

[As he hovered] over the skinny body, his nostrils were filled with the aroma of horror-sweat that poured from Rachel. He was swept by the scent. His breathing became a guttural purr and his eyes glazed over. Oh, shrewd liqueur of tropical fruits!
Ah, venomous crème de cassis!
Hurrah, distilled, tyrannical sweetness, tainted neither by a salty tint nor sour hint!
Never had the Count been caught by such a fire as was ignited by this sweetness ... a carnivorous perfume, as seismic as epilepsy ... A smut potion worthy of the sacred nostrils of the Pope!—Justine Frank, Sweet Sweat, 1931

Roee Rosen’s paintings, films, and writings have become known for their historical and theological consciousness, novelistic imagination, and psychological ambition. His work addresses the representation of history, the political economy of memory, and the politics of identity, often exploring the tension between trauma, horror, humor, and truth. Rosen was born in Rehovot, Israel, in 1963, and received degrees in visual art from the School of Visual Arts and Hunter College, both in New York. He now lives in Israel, where he teaches art and art history at Bezalel Academy of Art and at Beit Berl College. In 1997 Rosen’s controversial exhibition “Live and Die as Eva Braun” at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, was aggressively attacked by Israeli politicians. It won critical praise, however, for its new approach to the representation of the memory of the Holocaust. Rosen’s projects include the exhibition “Justine Frank (1900–1943): A Retrospective” (2009) and the films Two Women and a Man (2005) and The Confessions of Roee Rosen (2008). He has authored the books A Different Face (Shva, 2000), Lucy (Shadurian, 2000), Sweet Sweat (Babel, 2001), and Ziona™ (Keter, 2007).

Justine Frank  
(Born: Anwerp, 1900; died: Tel Aviv, 1943)
The art of Jewish Belgian painter Justine Frank has long been neglected and suppressed. Her work joins erotic motifs and Jewish imagery—a disturbing, hallucinatory combination. The same mixture of smut and Jewish tropes appears in the only book she authored, the pornographic novel Sweet Sweat (1931).
As soon as Frank emigrated from Antwerp to Paris, she mingled with members the Surrealist movement. While the Surrealists advocated a radical investigation of sexuality, the place allotted women-artists in this enterprise was rather scarce, and the scatological nature of Frank’s imagery repelled them. The Jewish tropes in Frank’s paintings were an anomaly as well. While a sacrilegious assault on Catholicism was a staple of Surrealism, Jewish Surrealists abstained from addressing this facet of their identity in their art—and Frank’s spectacle of Judaism was far too baffling to be understood as merely satirical. 
Frank’s career was also hindered by her intimate relationship with controversial author Georges Bataille, who at that time was having a veritable war with Surrealist leader André Breton. Her personal, financial and professional difficulties, along with the ominous intensification of anti-Semitism in Europe finally brought the artist to emigrate to Palestine in 1934. She settled in Tel Aviv, hometown of her best friend, Fanja Hissin, a kiosk owner widowed a year earlier. Yet opting for Tel Aviv was odd, if not tragic. Frank had always disavowed nationalist ideologies; once in Tel Aviv, her attitude became one of manifested hostility towards the values of the Zionist society. She persisted with her disagreeable artistic amalgamation of erotica and Judaism in the context of a puritan culture, whose “melting pot” ideology called for the suppression and negation of the diasporic Jew Frank was so adamantly rendering.
Frank was living virtually as an untouchable. But the social banishment did not prevent an unremitting buzz of ill-willed gossip around her. Some of these rumors were patently false. But as the years went by and her condition deteriorated further, her behavior did indeed become more disconcerting. In 1940 she began to persistently pester Marcel Janco, the venerated artist and recent immigrant. For her, it seems, Janco was simultaneously an alter ego, a nemesis, and a traitor, exchanging the radical stance of the avant-garde for nationalist local patriotism.
On April 22nd, 1942, Frank arrived as an uninvited guest, at the opening of an exhibition entitled Desert Light and Light Unto the Nations. According to most accounts, Frank attempted to assault Janco, and was arrested. Whatever truly happened, the event had doubtlessly scarred Frank. After Fanja Hissin bailed her, she moved in with the widower. In the early afternoon hours of April 12th, 1943, Justine Frank left Hissin’s apartment. She was never seen again.

The Stained Portfolio, 1927-1928
130 drawings and gouaches on paper, 1927-1928

This dossier of drawings—all stained (probably by ink)—is the earliest extant work by Frank. The assumption that the sheets were stained accidentally seems farfetched, as some of the blots clearly suggest figurations. Intentional staining also seems typical of Frank’s artistic antics: a bent for illusion and deceit, a scatological compulsion, and also a self destructive tendency, which might have found expression in the willful desecration of this exceptionally labor-intensive work.

But the stains are not the only anomalous trait of the portfolio. Unlike any known sketchbook in art history, the portfolio contains a preparatory study for each and every painting Frank was to produce later on. This fact, considered along with the early date, gave rise to two contradictory theories. According to the first, which perceives the dates as genuine, Frank planned her creative development in advance. The portfolio thus enables us to perceive Frank’s oeuvre (and, indeed, her life), as a single gesamtkunstwerk of monstrous scale. If so, Frank’s leitmotif is a parodic reversal of accepted notions concerning artistic inspiration and creation. This interpretation seems all the more stunning as Frank’s style did, in fact, evolve substantially over the years, and clear connections between biography and subject matter in her art can be easily traced.

Another possibility is that Frank backdated the drawings later, perhaps even in the 40’s (other artists, such as Malevich and de Chirico back-dated works, an act motivated either by a better market for early works, or by the will to retrospectively revise the artist’s history). Regardless of the answers to these questions, the comprehensive scope of the portfolio offers an excellent introduction to the work of Justine Frank, It providing a lexical key to her themes, symbols and tropes.

Roee Rosen, Two Women and a Man, 16:15 minutes, 2005

 Live and Die as Eva Braun, number 2, Acrylic, pastel and gesso on paper, 1995

Live and Die as Eva Braun

Live and Die consists of 66 works on paper and a text in ten segments. Addressing the viewer as a potential client, the text promises and describes the ultimate entertainment experience: becoming Hitler’s lover during the last days of the war, experiencing intimacy with the dictator, the suicide and a short trip to hell.The project is realized as both an installation and an artist book.
Live and Die stirred a scandal when first exhibited at the Israel Museum. Members of the right-wing religious MAFDAL party and secular conservatives demanded its removal. Live and Die was later recognized as groundbreaking in its approach to the representation of the holocaust, and was exhibited in Berlin,New York, Warsaw and, in 2012, in London. Linda Nochlin wrote in Artforum: “…The experience of Live and Die, both textual and visual, is unforgettable, like nothing else.”

Roee Rosen, Live and Die as Eva Braun, the text, 1995-1997

Roger Rothman, “Mourning and Mania, Roee Rosen’s Live and Die as Eva Braun,” in: Roee Rosen, Live and Die as Eva Braun (Jerusalem, The Israel Museum, 1997)
Ariella Azoulay, “The (Spectator’s) Place: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun,” in: Azoulay, Death’s Showcase, The Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy, translated by Ruvik Danieli (Cambridge, MA, The MIT Press, 2001), pp. 48-75 
Norman Kleeblatt, “Confusing Gender and Identity, Roee Rosen’s Live and Die as Eva Braun,” in: Mirroring Evil, Nazi Imagery / Recent Art, (New York, The Jewish Museum, 2001), pp. 101-104
Linda Nochlin, “Mirroring Evil,” ArtForum, Summer, 2002, pp. 167-168
     Roee Rosen, “The Visibility and Invisibility of Trauma - Traces of the Holocaust in the Work of Moshe Gershuni and in Israeli Art,” The Jerusalem Review, number 2 (Tel Aviv, Ah’shav Publishers, 1997).

    The Death of Cattelan, Mixed media on paper, 16 pages (complete dossier as PDF)

    The narrator tells of his wife’s disappearance and Maurizio Cattelan’s demise, while they were set to preview an art project realized in a Pygmy village in Congo. The story is told by circling letters in texts culled from different sources, from books to news items published as the work was made, and so, the reader encounters two different narratives on each page. A change of the circles’ color indicates a new word.

    Roee Rosen,A Different Face, a full English version of the children book (published in Hebrew only), 2000, PDF

    Lucy, 1991-1992, the complete English version of the artist’s book (published in Hebrew in 2000) 

    Roee Rosen, A Guided Journey, 2013

    Roee Rosen, A Grave Here

    Roee Rosen, Edible Philippine Workers

  • Other Works I
  • Other Works II
  • Early Works
  • Videos
  • Writings by RR
  • Texts about RR



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