till December 16

The Israeli artist Eitan Pimentel (1954) came across a cardboard box in 2014 containing his father Emil Pimentel’s diaries and notebooks. These were filled with hundreds of poems written in Dutch and became the inspiration for his series Rebirth, which explores the theme of ‘leaving old memories behind and opening the way for new memories’.

The young state of Israel promoted its image, also by using anonymous photographs of people who were symbolic of the ‘new inhabitants’ of the country. At that time, the identity of these individuals was apparently not important for the purposes of the photos. But who were these ‘extras’ depicted in the pictures? Where did they originally come from? What memories did they bring with them and what were their dreams for the future?

In the work displayed here, the artist combines poems his father Emil Pimentel wrote in the Netherlands during the Second World War with photos made to promote the State of Israel – in which he himself appears as a child. By doing this, he creates ‘a new family album: the old existence cut short in one place alongside building a new life elsewhere.

The artist himself is in all the photographs, as a very young boy. His first name, Eitan – which in Hebrew means strong, permanent, enduring – not only ‘connects’ the text and the photos in this artwork, but also the past and the future.

Emil Pimentel (1923-1988)
As a young man during the Second World War, the poet Emil Pimentel – born in Amsterdam – was captivated by European literature, philosophy, music, and writing. He survived by going into hiding at different addresses and during that period wrote poetry every day. After the war, he illegally left for Palestine in April 1947 aboard the Theodor Herzl. The ship was intercepted by the British military who ruled Mandatory Palestine and Pimentel was detained in one of the DP camps on Cyprus until 1949. Only then was he allowed to settle in Israel, where he lived and worked until his death. He continued writing poetry in Dutch. Pimentel married Dodi Rot and together they had two children. He left diaries and notes from the 1940s and 1950s, which include poems, his experiences in hiding, and observations about life in the Netherlands and on Cyprus.

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