Artwork

Efrat Shvily
Rehavia 5, 2009

Rehavia was a district in west Jerusalem, which was designed in the early 1920s by architect Richard Kauffmann as a garden city neighborhood following examples of Berlin architecture of the time. Rehavia was German-Jewish Jerusalem, capital of the yekke, German-speaking Jews who had come to the country for the most varied of reasons. ‘Grunewald in the Orient’ is how residents referred to Rehavia, whose internal geography is outlined, inter alia, in Else Lasker-Schüler’s major narrative work ‘This Hebrew Land’ and in Gershom Scholem’s autobiography ‘From Berlin to Jerusalem: Memories of My Youth.’ Shvily’s images document the fading of the once upmarket, middle class quarter; they show architecture that is overgrown by lush vegetation and threatened with dereliction. The photos of the plants, shrubs and trees create an atmosphere of Gothic transience and can equally represent the symbolic disappearance of a spiritual way of life.

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