Invited by Bat Yam Municipality Art Gallery, an exhibition with Selim Birsel and Aydan Murtazaoğlu was curated by Beral Madra, during Art Focus II.
Established in 1994, Art Focus is a biennial forum for encounter between local and international artists, curators, editors of art museums and art critics. The aim of the project is to give exposure to Israeli art within an international context. The programme involves joint displays of work by local and foreign artists plus additional shows at museums and alternative exhibition spaces. An essential aspect of the project is the invitation of curators, art historians and other professionals specialising in contemporary art to enable them to take stock of current trends in Israel. In 1994 Art Focus 1 initiated the experimental use of public and alternative exhibition spaces throughout the country, proposing 93 shows held at 77 venues. Art Focus 2, organised in 1996, set more stringent artistic guidelines, specifying that the exposure of contemporary Israeli art within an international setting should allow for a local cultural content. Following these guidelines, young Israeli artists exhibited jointly with artists from abroad active in related fields, or were featured in parallel solo exhibitions. A total of 67 solo shows were held within a framework of 48 projects, with the participation of 90 Israeli artists and 30 artists from abroad. Four central multi-media projects were produced, juxtaposing local and international art. The alternative space below the stands of the Teddy Stadium hosted 29 innovative shows of media art employing advanced photography, video and sound technologies. The stadium was converted into an experimental workshop for both Israeli and foreign artists, the latter arriving from 11 countries and five continents. Art Focus 3, organised in 1998, was concentrated in Jerusalem and focused on three projects – an international project at the Sultan’s Pool (see p XX) curated by Professor Kasper Koenig, Director and Chief Curator of ‘Portikus’ in Frankfurt which offered the public a general overview of contemporary art and featured a high-tech multi-media installation related to the concept of city planning; an exhibition at the Citadel of David curated by Professor Mordechai Omer, Director and Chief Curator of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, dealing with the relationship between contemporary art and memory; and exhibitions involving Israeli and international artists dealing with issues raised by the Sultan’s Pool installation held at the Israel Museum. An international symposium on the subject ‘The Status of Art Today’ was also held. Art Focus projects are documented in a bilingual catalogue which is distributed to museums and cultural centres abroad.