The foundation for the installation, Love for All Hatred for None, rests on Gil & Moti’s struggle to contextualise their self-proclaimed fear of religion. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s campaign to show solidarity against extremism. Notably Islam, for the male couple with Israeli Jewish backgrounds, is a particularly problematic topic to address. Gil & Moti’s work invites the viewer to consider the political contiguous to the personal. Attitudes based on fear allow for discriminatory practices, which begs the question, how is safety for some transformed into subjugation and insecurity for others?
The exhibition is built around two videos, In Your Shoes and Heart Whisperer—filmed in Copenhagen, Denmark and the latter in Turku, Finland between 2011 and 2015. The two video works show the artists Gil & Moti meeting and being hosted by members of local Muslim communities. The conversations between the men in the videos orbit around topics of faith, art, love, and sexuality. The artists’ serious curiosity to tackle confusion via honesty, concerning their own biases, give room for encounters and dialogue that are conceivably difficult despite earnest intentions. Lastly, “Support any constructive cause for the betterment of humanity”—a line borrowed from one of the videos—acts as the starting point for the site-specific work Share Your Belief, for which the viewers are invited to express their ideas by writing in the gallery space.
Internal and external fears of religion, such as those expressed in the work of Gil & Moti, remain urgent subject matter, even years after their initial investigation. The artists confront their fears through direct communication and by coming into contact with a different way of life, nuanced and complex conversations ensue. This acts as a stratagem to address the baseless uneasiness of the unknown Other. The relationship to religion in ostensibly secular Scandinavian life is frequently interpreted as lukewarm. However, anti-religious anxiety has been instrumentalised to attract further right-wing nationalist support, in Finland and across Europe, to massive success. The condition which creates a general atmosphere of panic over a multitude of seemingly uncontrollable events—global warming, rising unemployment, or the refugee crisis as it is framed—has become fertile soil for hateful nationalistic rhetoric.
Rotterdam-based duo Gil & Moti have worked together exclusively since 1998 and are known for their unique social, artistic engagement where sharing is an ongoing experiment on a visual, mental, and physical level. Their practice includes always dressing identically, never leaving the other’s side, and together owning one wallet, one phone and one pair of keys. As artists, a gay couple, Jewish born (ex)Israelis, and immigrants living in Europe, they contribute to the critical cultural discourse on identity, human relationships, and norms that regulate social existence. Via small-scale social interventions, they address important socio-political issues, such as discrimination, social exclusion and racism while switching effortlessly between modes of expression; from photography, painting, video, performance, and installation art. www.gilandmoti.nl
image: Gil & Moti, Support Any Constructive Cause for the Betterment of Humanity, 2015
p.s. Gil & Moti’s works can also be seen in Turku. The exhibition Donkey Without a Tail at Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova is open until 5th of August 2018.
Gil & Moti
Love for All Hatred for None
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
Open: Tue–Fri 12–17, Sat–Sun 12–16
Love for All Hatred for None is organised in collaboration with HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme.