Life & Culture

Video night puts work in shop windows

Artists looking forward to the West End spotlight


There is a major Jewish influence to Nuit Blanche Video, a 12-hour arts event starting in central London on Saturday night and involving shops, restaurants, galleries and even a private members' club. Yasmine Datnow, Maïa Morgensztern and Marie Shek are curating Nuit Blanche - French for white night - and Israeli artists are among those showing films or videos projected on to screens in windows of buildings.

Morgensztern explains that only English and French artists were involved in a previous incarnation. "This year it has expanded to have a more international feel. We want it to be as big and democratic as possible. It is free, it takes place outside. You might plan to follow the route or you might stumble upon it while on an evening out." Some methods of projection will be more unusual. For example, Le Meridien Hotel in Piccadilly will project film on to the pavement at the entrance.

The theme of the evening, "The World We Live In", appealed to the curators. "We are Jewish women but we come from different backgrounds," Morgensztern says. "I am French, Yasmine is British and Marie was born in Tunisia and now lives in Israel." She is proud that a number of Israeli artists are taking part and also that Nuit Blanche has received support from the Israeli embassy, but stresses that "the embassy of Switzerland is also supporting the event and other embassies wanted to be involved. We hope to involve them in future."

Among the contributors is London-based Israeli artist Ori Gersht, who is "delighted by the unassuming spirit of this initiative. Presenting work in an unfamiliar context is very exciting for me. I believe that the event will introduce a new audience to the work."

Yifat Bezalel will be showing the video, Hurt Beat, at North Audley Cantine. She is "pleased to take part primarily because it is always a joy for an artist to receive a stage and have their works noticed." She also hopes her work will show a different side to Israel. "I am not a political artist but I could define some of my works as being politically romantic. In my modest opinion, it is not violent expression that will break the shell of anger but a mutual readiness for profound and methodic observation that, just like water that breaks through stone, will have an effect."

Sigalit Landau and video artist Guy Ben-Ner are also featured and further Israeli interest is provided by Shahar Marcus, who works with German-Turkish performance artist Nezaket Ekici. Their video, Salt Dinner - being screened in Piccadilly Arcade - depicts them dining together in the Dead Sea. Marcus recalls how difficult it was to film. "It was the middle of August and about 40 degrees Celsius. We went into the sea and had our salt dinner in one take. The water mixed with the wine and felt like oil going down our throats. The whole feeling was like a last meal."

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