This publication was produced to coincide with the exhibition Beyond Guilt – The Trilogy by Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir, April 8 to June 5, 2011 at the Contemporary Art Gallery. Designed by The Future with texts by Jenifer Papararo and Nigel Prince.
For their first solo exhibition in Canada, the CAG presented Beyond Guilt – The Trilogy (2003-2005) a collaborative video series by Israeli artists Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir.
The work’s currency rests in its daring and mischievous blend of sex and politics and its jumbling of subject and author. The trilogy begins with Beyond Guilt #1 shot in the bathrooms of night clubs in Tel Aviv where the artists record themselves negotiating sexual encounters. In Beyond Guilt #2, through an online chat room, the artists invited men to a hotel room where discussions of sexual preferences lead to talk of experiences in the army and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And in the final video, they invited a sex worker to a hotel room, gave her their camera and asked her to document their meeting.
In all three, Sela and Amir are instigators on and off camera, acting as provocateurs as well as ready and willing participants. Beyond Guilt – The Trilogy is at times difficult to watch. The artists create risky scenarios by negotiating sex inpublic places and inviting strangers into their hotel room. Yet, Sela and Amir have managed to anaesthetize situations that are out of the ordinary, filled with unknowns and potential risk. They capture a banality within the sensational, neutering much of the provocation. Sela and Amir’s conflation of sex and war isn’t what one would expect – a depiction of spectacle and drama. It is of the everyday and seems to represent a possible tactic for coping with life in Tel Aviv. In a nation continually at war, surrounded by violence, this seems most viable.MORE