In "Painting the Divide (Jerusalem)", the British painter, sculptor, and video artist Mark Wallinger applied images of Jerusalem to a pair of folding screens, transforming a real object into a richly suggestive sculpture. He created this piece when he was invited to participate in an exhibition at the Sultan's Pool in the Israeli capital; previously, the artist made screens inspired by other contested places, Famagusta in northern Cyprus and Berlin Zoo.
"Painting the Divide (Jerusalem)" provided an effective means to abut images of the Sultan's Pool (left side) and Mishkenot Sha'ananim (right side), two locations in Jerusalem that, in the view of the artist, speak eloquently to the history of the region. The Sultan's Pool, built on the site of a pool from the Second Temple Period, was restored by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the sixteenth century to store water that flowed from a nearby valley. Mishkenot Sha'ananim was built in 1860 by Sir Moses Montefiore, a widely celebrated British Jew who constructed Mishkenot for Jewish residents outside the walls of the Old City.
The vast format of the tableau evokes the layering of cultures and the numerous influences at play in Jerusalem. The seeming detachment of the images in this work relates it to documentary-style photography, yet the imposing size and narrative power of the screen connect it to the photographic practice of contemporary artists.
Mark Wallinger (born 1959) lives in London
"Painting the Divide (Jerusalem)", 2005 (Digital print on canvas, on two six-panel folding screen)
Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger, Wien