The Janco-Dada Museum, No Peace 2017

Amos Roger

No Peace

Faced with a reality in which political-social morals are called into question, and progress feeds the destructiveness between individuals and peoples and casts a shadow over the human experience, Amos Roger seeks to set up a mirror and to wrestle with the issues that trouble him in the moral agenda of the State of Israel. In so doing, he creates visual images of maps, carved letters, and an old cracked wheel, grooved and carved, that rotates on its axle at the speed of the flow of time, aimlessly and endlessly.

The body of the work — a new syntax of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet carved into a square tablet made up of one hundred wooden blocks, an allusion to the Ten Commandments that personify, according to the artist, the eternal body of Jewish morals. Thus, for example, the opening words of the tablet, “Thou shalt bear,” are deciphered as the opposite of the ninth commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Roger creates the mirror image of the reality reflected in Israeli society as he leaves his own mark through deep, even painful, carving of the blocks, created from used beams taken from old scaffolding. In the intellectual encounter between the familiar biblical world and the contemporary world, a kind of semantic field is created, composed of Israeli-made phrases, and a shaky, metaphorical sketch of the negotiating table. In the ready-made of the two pull-out dining table leaves, marked with maps, that lean against the wall like protest signs, like unwanted objects, he draws, etching in the white paint, the proposed partition plan before the establishment of the State of Israel as well as its current boundaries, including an indication of the “Green Line.” These objects are presented in witness and as protest against the government’s duplicitous policy, which leads, in his words, “to the destruction of the state,” instead of achieving a fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The connection between past and present is woven like a crimson thread in the body of the work. The disassembled tabletop, whose pieces are fixed and immovable, recalls, on the one hand, the columns of letter combinations that Jewish mystics composed in the Middle Ages and after, and, on the other, it seems that the geometrical grid draws its inspiration from Paul Klee’s version of Conceptual Art.

In the absence of normative, ethical, and legal checks, faced with a reality in which “might makes right” and in which behavioral norms instilling oppression and exclusion, numbness, and social apathy take the place of equality and respect for others, no possibility remains of sustaining relationships based on mutual respect and peaceful dialogue.

Avital Katz

Exhibition Curator