Archive, 2003, metal, marble, plastic flowers, ceramic, wood, formaika, sponge, stone and gold, 30 x 900 x 292 cm, courtesy of the artist's family, photo: Studio Warhaftig Venezian Ltd.
Gideon Gechtman's works are concerned with death, memory and commemoration, and are framed by the "Mausoleum" project he began developing in the 1970s in order to preserve his body of works. Gechtman's mausoleum functioned simultaneously as a sort of "collection" that grew over time, a work of art that captured the artist and his family members, and a symbolic site in which to preserve it. This long-term project combined various systems of collecting, classifying, cataloguing and archiving alongside conceptual strategies based on the elusive borderline between truth and fiction, authenticity and forgery. The typological principle is especially prominent in this work, where it is given expression both in its title and in the installation of the objects in niches - an arrangement typical of collections. The archive contains a reconstruction of the multilevel graves in the cemetery of Port Bou, Spain - the burial place of Walter Benjamin, to whom this work was dedicated. The wall is composed of niches in which the artist placed various objects that look like readymades, but were meticulously created by hand to resemble elements from his previous works. The urn for storing ashes, marble vases containing artificial flowers, plastic fruits, golden vehicle and plastic pebbles thus all function as an index to earlier works by the artist, which are eternalized in this archive.
1942-2008; born in Egypt, lived and worked in Rishon LeZion