"Last Chance to See," declared British author Douglas Adams in his amusing travel book, which gave its title to the exhibition. Adams teamed up with zoologist Mark Carwardine, embarking on a journey in search of the strangest and most endangered species of animals on the planet. The title emphasizes the quest's urgency, indicating the desire for a physical encounter with the object of the search and the aspiration to study it through the body, in the flesh.
The exhibition addresses the various routes and repercussions of human mobility in the geographical, physical, and linguistic spheres, as experienced, signified, and processed by contemporary artists from Israel and France—countries through which two of the most important Christian pilgrimage routes since medieval times pass: the route to Jerusalem and the route to Santiago de Compostela. The geographic settings in which the artists work are thus infused with the traces of past pilgrims, who left their imprint on the local landscapes and cultures.
Unlike traditional pilgrimages, the pilgrimage routes outlined here are not centered on arrival at the longed for destination, but rather on the movement itself as a near-sublime act which is performed for its own sake; they introduce the journey as a repetitious motion, possibly meditative, which in some instances even causes damage to the physical body. At the same time, this movement echoes contemporary life styles, which are rife with transitions and trespassing of territorial borders, as more and more people cover distances and lead a nomadic way of life, whether real or virtual.
In his travelogue America, French philosopher Jean Baudrillard describes movement in a desert-like space, devoid of reference points, which concludes with realization of the journey's endlessness. In the journeys featured in the exhibition, the artists set out to re-map systems of knowledge and language, human contacts and optional resources. The resulting alternative cartographies function as infrastructure for new excursions of searching, gathering, and documentation, which are translated into poetic forms of data processing and spatial navigation.
The Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Israel opening 8/11/2018
Villa Tamaris Centre d'Art, Toulon opening 22/11/2018
Read more about the exhibition here