Living Strata


Avital Wexler


Orit Bergman, Ovadia Benishu, Hila Karabelnikov Paz, Inbal Ochyon, Shaul Cohen and Keren Shpilsher

‘New Spirit’ House (Old ‘Shaare Zedek’ Hospital) Jaffa St 161

In the late 19th or early 20th century, when an expansive building was built in Jerusalem, it had a definite purpose (private residence, school, or hospital). As is the way of a living city, time after time it changes and with it, the purpose of the building also changes. Jerusalem is a stratified city. But unlike an archeological mound where all the strata are layers that have frozen in time, in Jerusalem the layers continue to accumulate one on top of another.

Shaare Zedek Hospital on Jaffa Road was inaugurated in 1902 as a Jewish, Ashkenazi and religious hospital, with a synagogue on its entrance floor. In 1980, the management of the Israeli Broadcast Authority moved into the building and operated in it for two decades. In those years, the synagogue was used as a conference room. With the entrance of the New Spirit Association to the building a few months ago, the conference room became the gallery of the Jerusalem Biennale. The exhibition examines this moment in time and space. Illustrators and artists created visual tributes to six buildings in Jerusalem that underwent various iterations, and ended up as display venues where people can admire art.

Illustration: ענבל אוחיון