Critics’ Picks

Dani Gal, Nacht und nebel (Night and Fog), 2011, HD video, color, sound, 22 minutes.

Tel Aviv

Dani Gal

Tel Aviv Museum of Art
27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd, POB 33288 The Golda Meir Cultural and Art Center
March 21–June 21, 2014

Tel Aviv Museum of Art
27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd, POB 33288 The Golda Meir Cultural and Art Center
March 21–June 21, 2014

Dani Gal’s long-term fascination with historical memory is the basis for two of his films currently on view at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. In them, Gal raises questions regarding personal and collective memory and the changing relationships between victim and perpetrator.

Inspired by an interview he conducted with Holocaust survivor and former police officer Michael Goldman-Gilad, Gal created a twenty-two-minute film titled Nacht und nebel (Night and Fog), 2011, which reenacts events of a night in 1962 when Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann was executed and cremated in Israel. The characters, among them Goldman-Gilad (played by Yaron Mottola), guard the ashes as they sit in silence in a police bureau, then in a van, and later in a boat to complete the secretive mission of scattering the ashes in international waters. By eliminating dialogues, enhancing sound effects, and adding a voice-over of Goldman-Gilad’s personal experiences from that night, Gal illustrates the participants’ deep moral unease and sense of detachment in this problematic situation.

Wie aus der ferne (As from Afar), 2013, is a twenty-six-minute film that traces a fictional meeting between Nazi architect Albert Speer and Holocaust survivor, architect, and Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal. Based on their peculiar and controversial mail correspondence during the 1970s, the dialogue reveals the ambivalence about their potential meeting and the scars left from their past. This is exemplified by Wiesenthal’s explicit memory of Mauthausen concentration camp, which Speer was responsible for planning, and where Wiesenthal barely survived the last few months of the war. By adding a voice-over of Wittgenstein’s text “Lecture No. 35” (1934–35) that discusses memory images, Gal contemplates how memories are created and maintained through different standpoints.

Both films’ documentary style produces a seemingly objective approach, yet the circumstances, as well as the characters, embody turmoil: guilt, pain, failure, and conflicted human pride.