Etamar Beglikter, who lives on Lurie Street in Tel Aviv, displays in the entrance of the Boris Lurie Art and Dada Study Center a series of works, titled “From Lurie to Lurie”. This series is made from the volumes of the Encyclopedia Hebraica, one of the most significant symbols of Israeli culture during the first three decades of statehood. In the early 21st century when the internet took over as the main source of information, the encyclopedia’s thirty-two thick volumes along with its addenda volumes, which had been proudly displayed in many homes, became an encumbrance and were discarded.
For more than a decade, Beglikter has been using the Encyclopedia Hebraica as a surface and component in his work. The various shapes he cuts out of the volumes for the most part typify contemporary consumer culture. The current exhibition refers to a space that is crammed with books, thus focusing on letters and words, mostly slang, carved into the material in a font, which was typical of the Encyclopedia Hebraica. The word LO (No in Hebrew) is positioned facing the NO of the NO!art movement as a gesture to Boris Lurie, the movement’s founder. Alongside is the word DA, which turns into DADA when the book pages are spread open. Beglikter used the volume containing entries written by Yona Fischer to create the word YOFI (Fischer’s initials, which form the Hebrew word for Beauty), and as a gesture to the current Minister of Culture, Beglikter created the word KAPAYIM (Hebrew for Applause).
The artist has collected the discarded volumes and given them new life. In this series the Encyclopedia Hebraica returns to its former glory and is displayed, albeit as a work of art, in a space that is still dedicated to printed books.