‘The Replica’ is a video work by Roiy Nitzan commissioned by Tel Aviv Museum Of Art for the exhibition ‘Collective’ (2017).
The exhibition features works never before exhibited, works by unknown artists and wholly anonymous works, alongside new views of well-known works. The exhibition offers a range of contexts, narratives and tales that depict varied aspects and express different perceptions of the collection.
By Curator Tal Lanir:
In an attempt to explore the Museum’s collection, Roiy Nitzan’s video sets out to trace one among the collection’s thousands of works. Somewhere in the warehouses lies a misplaced unique work of art gifted in 1932 to Meir Dizengoff, Tel Aviv’s first mayor, on the occasion of the opening of the Tel Aviv Museum in his private home on Rothschild Blvd. Dizengoff considered it a valuable work, a corner stone of the Museum’s future collection and more specifically of his envisioned Bible gallery. Along the way, with the moving of the Museum to the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion in 1958 and later, in 1973, to its current address on Shaul HaMelech Blvd and, still later, with the building of the storages of the Rich Wing in the 1990s, the work has lost its relevance and faded into the obscurity of the storerooms.
The quest documented by the video proceeds through all the storages of the Museum’s various departments: the fascinating room of the Department of Prints and Drawings, of the Department of Photography, the vault of modern and old masters’ artworks, the historical warehouse of the Department of Israeli Art, and the sculptures’ warehouse. Between masterpieces and historical works, forgotten sculptures and iconic drawings, the quest affords a glimpse into the Museum’s collections, which are usually inaccessible to the general public.
Beyond questions concerning the essence and meaning of both the exhibited and the concealed collections, the video proposes additional queries: does the original work still maintain its significance in an age of total technological reproduction? What are the contemporary criteria for evaluating a work of art held in museum collection? And what is the relevance of a museum collection in our days?
The journey through the Museum’s cellars eventually brings us to the lost work – a replica of Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini’s (1598-1680) sculpture David. The replica of the famous sculpture that was given to Dizengoff filled him with pride and integrated into his vision of establishing a modern museum in the first modern Hebrew city.