It is always difficult to me to put Yuval Avital in a precise box: is he a visual artist or musician?
Probably because there is not an answer truer than the other to this concern and because all of his creations, despite their difference, have an important sensorial impact. I remember very clearly the installation Alma Mater in 2015: a sort of trip toward the origins travelling through the umbilical cord ideally represented by the symbol of the Terzo Paradiso by Michelangelo Pistoletto. Almost a return in the maternal womb. Where the sounds of the nature interlaced the voices of grandmothers narrating fables, traditional songs coming out of a “forest” of 140 loudspeakers. I remember also Fuga Perpetua created in 2016 and realized in collaboration with the United Nations UNHCR. It is not a work on the refugees but a work created together with the refugees that in “silent interviews” told important moments of their life through their facial expression and natural gestures without any verbalization.
Today Yuval Avital returns with an extraordinary work shown up between the end of May and the beginning of June in Rome at Terme di Diocleziano (Thermal baths of Diocletian). The occasion is given by the 80th anniversary of the promulgation of the racial laws in Italy, unfortunately still a very actual theme, and by the fact that in 2018 Italy has assumed the presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. So “Job”, the title of the work, recalls the memory of one of the darkest moments in the history of Italy with the hope that certain terrible experiences are not useless if used to as a tool of learning to avoid their recurrence. In this sense Avital’s Job departs from the homonym biblical text (re-translated, edited and transformed to libretto by Jewish Torah scolar and philosopher Haim Baharier and theatre critic Magda Poli) to face in contemporary key the theme of the persecution through the archetypes of Good and Evil, God and Satan that unite all of us.
"The constant dialogue with research centers, public institutions, archives, but also with individuals and families that are carriers of memories - Yuval Avital comments - has brought not only to a vast and exceptional collection of documentary material and its artistic editing, but it also shows a strong human interaction that invites the public to join in the creative process. The commemoration of the victims of the Shoah thus becomes a mean of learning against racial discrimination and the hatred that are nowadays gaining ground, polluting our society. It is imperative we take a decisive position against both, to safeguard our present and future."
In this way Job becomes a symbol of past and actual fierce and tragedy. The images of NASA’s Solar Observatory (Avital in 2012 realized the work Unfolding Space in collaboration with the Nasa and ESA) are alternate with historical material from RAI and to the face of senator Liliana Segre, direct witness of the Holocaust, who "converses in silence" with Ensemble PMCE of the Auditorium in Rome and the vocal soloists of Auditivvokal in Dresden.
A work that really strikes us, talking to our senses and reason. A work that makes us reflecting on the fact that the good and the evil are present in each of us and that only we decide to follow one or the other, to realize one or the other. As the Dutch writer Etty Hillesum affirms "If all this suffering does not help us to broaden our horizon, to attain a greater humanity by shedding all trifling and irrelevant issues then it will all have been for nothing."