And the Trees went Forth to Seek a king
We adore them and hate them at the same time; we admire them and despise them. We project our whims and hopes onto them and at the same time watch them being lead restrained and humiliated to courtrooms derived of their mythical powers and charisma.
We bear witness lately, to an unprecedented local and global leadership crisis.
The exhibition is launched while public trust in the institution of leadership is an all-time low.
We love and hate them. Admire and scorn them. We trust in them and believe their promises, as we watch them being led handcuffed and humiliated. Who is worthy of leading? What motivates people to become leaders? Is it an inner feeling of justice and an ability to see the truth which guides them? Or rather, is it a disappointing and manipulative desire for self-glorification and abuse of one’s position at the expense of the masses?
From where does this deep inherent need for a leader emanate? Does it cater to inner yearnings similar to love? Or is it the psychological need of the individual and the collective for a good parent and primary father as a source of support, encouragement and a sense of physical and emotional security in times of regression and distress?
Is it in our power to prevent immoral behavior of leaders and governments? The exhibition AND THE TREES WENT FORTH TO SEEK A KING, critically examines the complex inter-relationship between leaders and their subjects. The name of the exhibition is derived from the opening phrase of "Jotham’s parable" (Judges: 9), the first anarchistic manifest in the Bible, and one of the earliest texts describing human nature’s search for a leader.
David Ben-Gurion was quoted as saying that he didn’t know what the people wanted, but he surely knew what they needed. Indeed, we long for a leadership that can discern the needs of the people. A spiritual leadership, motivated by a true sense of mission, a leadership that admonishes, warns and alerts, that lights the way through personal dedication to the notion of justice, freedom and peace in Israel and the nations. A leadership akin to the list of leaders mentioned by Prof. Eliezer Schweid in his book "Prophets for their People"1 , who had a significant impact on the formation of the nation and the generations of their time; a leadership which espouses the prophetic code of Moses and the Prophets of Israel, whose essence was to bring the truth to their people and to universal mankind; a leadership which rose at the time of the crisis of humanism in the first half of the 20th century, in the wake of a grave threat to the Jewish People and to Judaism.
The exhibition coincides with a time of crisis in the local and global leadership; since the outburst of the Arab spring, a bloody war is being waged in the Middle East over the shape of the ruling authorities. In Europe and in Israel leaders are being tried in court and in the Far East horrendous crimes are being committed to ensure and safeguard the existing leadership. In these times of confusion, due to the lack of morality and clear ethical codes of a leadership detached from its people, we face the danger of losing faith in the institutions of power.
Raphie Etgar, Curator
Kendell Geers, South Africa / Belgium
William Joseph Kentridge, South Africa
Santiago Sierra and Jorge Galindo, Spain
Ramin Haerizadeh, ran, Dubai
Uri Lifshitz, Israel
Micha Ullman, Israel
Joshua Neustein, Israel / U.S.A
Clemens von Wedemeyer, Germany
Vyacheslav Akhunov, Uzbekistan
Shirley Faktor, Israel
Oliver Pietsch, Germany
Graham Frew, Scotland
Marcantonio Lunardi, Italy / Turkey
Tommy Cha, England
Peter Kennard & Cat Phillipps, England
Eckart Hahn, Germany
Chto Delat, Russia
Ariel Kleiner, Israel