Punishments, 1973 (video still), U-matic tape, 27:43 minutes, silent, b/w, Haifa Museum of Art Collection
Michael Druks' work Punishments (1973) is based on the action of writing and on the undoing of this action, and its content has a clear political reference. Druks copies a passage from the Book of Judges (2:3) that is related to the annihilation of the Canaanites by the Israelites: "Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;" The camera is focused on the manner in which the hand fills in columns of words - each word in every sentence is written over and over again below the same word in the previous sentence. This work serves as a metaphor for the cycles of violence that repeatedly recur in this country; yet the undoing of meaning inherent in the repetitive action overrides the immediate and direct content of the copied phrases
Druks' work Everybody's Own Square (1975) expresses the idea that every individual perceives the world in relation to subjective bodily criteria. In a projection composed of superimposed images, Druks places volunteers, who stand with outstretched arms, in the middle of a freestyle square they had previously drawn on paper, an action reminiscent of a crucifixion. The square drawn by each person, according to Druks, is compatible with the proportions of this person's body - with his height and the width of his outstretched arms.
In the staged photograph Intend to the East (1977), Druks subverts the use of a camera and of the camera straps and wraps them around his body as if they were phylacteries. This statement about the replacement of religion with art does not necessarily reflect a provocative stance, but it does undoubtedly question the validity of a sacred symbol, especially in the context of Druks' religious past.
Born in Jerusalem, 1940; lives and works in London