Ella Littwitz

"No Vestige of a Beginning, No Prospect of an End", 2013-14

The pioneer, 2014

Bronze, 66x21x10 cm

Sticky mud, 2015

Bronze, 20x20x5 cm

"...which came up in a night, and perished in a night" (pyjamas #7), 2014

ready made, The Israeli National Natural History Collections

54x70 cm

No Place, Good Place, 2014

Chalk on Blackboard, 105x150 cm

Wild food foraging has become trendier in recent years. The connection to the ‘local’ is an on growing phenomenon, not less vigorous than the mankind’s desire to reshape nature. Traditions of using herbs and plants from a nearby field or forest are part of the cultural heritage of many nations. This trend is accompanied sometimes with nationalist notes. Ella Littwitz regards her homeland Israel in her work, and engages in the present day through the layers and historical events which shaped her homeland. Though subtle clues imply the Palestinian-Israeli conflict’s presence in her work, it is an important part of her practice. Understanding those two ideas, allows us to understand the relevance of Littwitz’s exhibition.


Art practice as research is in the core of Littwitz’s work; it engages with archaeology, biology and philosophy and adopts naturalist’s methods of research. Applying inquisitive gaze, resembling the perspective of a scientist who investigates every detail in order to comprehend and formulate an opinion regarding the studied matter. Similar to the Zionist settlers who acted as archaeologists, scientists and architects that had measured, examined, marked and appropriated every stone in Palestine/Israel. Every plant and vantage point was given a Hebrew name, and the local terroir drastically changed: wilderness was disseminated, forests were planted, rivers were diverted, hills were built, and just like on a Hollywood set - a new landscape, similar to Tuscany or Provence was created. Thus, whole epochs from history were erased. The desire to connect the land to its Jewish past is one of the most prominent principles of the Zionist movement. This seemingly romantic approach, which aims to expose a hidden, misunderstood or distorted secret, is the direct result of the settlers’ aspiration to create a mini-Europe in Israel. It is of no surprise that Israeli artist, who engages in the subject matter of self identity, does so by turning to classic European methodologies.

In her current work, she invites the viewers to reflect on her research. The findings of her research solely serve as a starting point to an artistic preoccupation, while undergoing various manipulations which redefine the ‘signified/signifier’ relations of the work with its origin. This is how, for example, Littwitz transforms her findings into dysfunctional objects, carrying only their historical cargo and their socio-political value. In other cases, despite the fact that the archival findings are the only key to understand her work, Littwitz doesn’t necessarily provide the viewer with accessibility to them, as they remain hidden or untraced. All that revealed is the metamorphoses that create an artistic experience rather than empirical experience.



Matan Daube