Raphie Etgar

Homeland, Israel, 2004

silk screen 350x190 cm

Once again, the Agnus Dei (divine lamb) is placed on the altar. Once again, the trussing. Here are the rocks, here are the trees, and here are the flames of the sacrifice. Fire and blood, Raphie Etgar, “stages” the mythical ceremony of the innocent sacrifice. He constructs stage struts, he butchers the ram into two, he enlarges it's head wth a zoom in, as someone who, by means of a close up, brings the tragic notion closer, perhaps the head and shoulders dipped in fire and blood, blood and fire. A rationalistic avoidance and an emotional storm guide the hand designing the icon picture. The blueprint of the house is suggested on Etgar's stage of myth and history, links to the headline– Homeland, and reminds us of the curse of the national “Home” translated into territorial imperatives of bloodshed. Home and Land, (earth) were separated in the picture for the benefit of the dramatic postponement of the sacrificial ceremony. Etgar's mythical metaphor does not redeem Isaac through the sacrifice of the ram: Because the ram is man and the “Covenant of Covenants” is both a human and a divine curse. The cohesion of the ceremony, the cohesion of the sacrifice the cohesion of the earth and the cohesion of the house were all sentenced to a bitter rift. And there, in the upper center of the cleft, we see the capital letters E and L, spelling out “God” (on a backdrop of empty heavens). Only then do the rocks of the earth reveal themselves as the dissected carcass of the lamb, as a cemetery, upon which the national homeland was built.

Dr. Gideon Ofrat