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Dani Gal - Chanting Down Babylon at Halle fuer Kunst Lueneburg

LUENEBURG.- Halle fuer Kunst Lueneburg presents Dani Gal - Chanting Down Babylon, on view until 10th May 2009. The source materials in the works of Dani Gal (born 1975, Israel) are historical documents, media reports and interviews, which he transforms and updates into spatially filling, formally-reduced sound, image and video installations for the purpose of questioning their putative explicitness. He directs his interest particularly to individual voices in the polyphonic process of narrating and in the visibility accrued of the subjectivity and fictional character of specific past events. The gaping hole between the event and its current presentation which appears in this process is at the foreground of Gal's investigations – a gap which persistently oscillates between the collective and subjective memory between the event itself and that of its documented evidences.

At Halle fuer Kunst Lueneburg eV, in one of his first institutional solo exhibitions, Dani Gal presents his most recently developed project 'Chanting Down Babylon', consisting of a room installation, a video and various photographic works. In these works, based on substantial researches geared toward subjective experience worlds and atmospheres in Amsterdam, Zurich and London, various events and stories are interwoven into a complex net of abstract and formal connections through the medium of music: the crash of a freight airplane, spiritualistic belief imaginings, the idea of a return to Africa, Babylon and the Black Star Line the shipping line once founded by Marcus Garvey.

Shortly after the take-off of El-Al flight 1862 in October 1992 from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam the Israeli Boeing 747 crashed into a residential complex in Bijlermeer on the Amsterdam outskirts. The tragic and never wholly explained airplane accident opened a Pandora's box, in political terms, in Holland – the secret transportation of weapons of mass destruction, erased sequences from the Black Box recordings and mysterious illness are only a few of the scandals that came to light in the media following the airplane crash. For 'Chanting Down Babylon' (2009) Dani Gal visited residents of the Bijlermeer district, primarily migrants from Surinam and Africa and the journalist Vincent Dekker to enter into a dialogue on the airplane crash and their re-established everyday life in the reconstructed residential complex. The installation resulting thereof in Halle fuer Kunst presents clippings of these meetings in a slide show and the two modified loudspeakers which constitute the sound sculptures 'The Horns of Jericho' (2009). Formally quoting minimalistic objects, the loudspeakers lead the sound through a spiral of chambers evoking associations with the spiral trajectory of the freight aircraft before it hit the building.

The video work 'Black Magic Marker' (2009) in turn shows music producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry in his current residence at Einsiedeln (Switzerland). The Lee Perry operated Black Ark Studio in Kingston, and its unique sounds central to the progression and promotion of the Jamaican music scene, mysteriously went up in flames in 1979. Scratch Perry, known as the 'Upsetter', psalmodises, in the midst of walls strewn with characters strongly reminiscent of his former studio, on divine power, animalistic objects and the power of symbols and words to become reality.

Dani Gal's interest in the blank spaces of history and their transmission, the rendering into the now, in which precisely the blind spots and the irretrievableness of meaning are generated has been compiled in a room for the presentation at the Halle fuer Kunst Lueneburg eV. Here questions of power, politics, unexplained conspiracy theories and spiritualism impact with the subjective experience of the historical subject.

The Berlin residing artist Dani Gal was born in Jerusalem in 1975. Following his studies in the visual arts at the Bezalel Academy for Art and Design in Jerusalem, Gal studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Kuenste Staedelschule, Frankfurt/Main and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. Further to group shows at the Kunstmuseum Bonn (2008), the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin (2008), the Portikus Frankfurt/Main (2007), the Kunsthalle Exnergasse (2006), the Kunsthaus Baselland (2006) and the Halle fuer Kunst Lueneburg (2006), in 2008 Gal was awarded the Villa Romana Prize. At the moment he is a stipendiary of the Kuenstlerstaette Schloss Bleckede.

For the exhibition a publication in the form of an artist book is to be published by Argobooks Berlin which has been designed in close cooperation with graphic artist Florian Lambl (Berlin). It is due to be published in May 2009.

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