About Small Songs
The Art book Lee Yanor
Coffee with Pina
About Small Songs
A video exhibit by Lee Yanor
Concept and exhibition design Pia Forsgren
SMALL SONGS combined the expressions of exhibits with video screenings. The focus being on Lee Yanor’s videos as well as her emulsions, holograms and experimental still lives – all having movement as the common denominator.
The idea for SMALL SONGS was born when Pia Forsgren met Lee Yanor 2009 during a trip to Tel Aviv. Stemming from their conversations grew the idea to create something other than the conventional using Yanor’s work. Pia Forsgren, who previously has been noted for her successful and courageous experiments with architectural and high-tech style performances, presented the idea of letting the space adapt to the art, something, which added a theatrical touch to the exhibition.
The Art book Lee Yanor
Photo and video artist Lee Yanor
Editor Pia Forsgren, Anders Wester and Lina Österman
Art Direction and design* Anders Wester and Fredrik Axell
Production The Jewish Theatre
When Director and Artistic Director Pia Forsgren invited the Israeli photo and video artist Lee Yanor in 2010 to The Jewish Theatre to introduce her to the Swedish art scene with the video exposé SMALL SONGS – the idea of creating a new piece in book form was born – a poetic flow of photographic works from Yanor’s imagery.
Along with award-winning Art Director Anders Wester, Forsgren began the work on the exclusive art book. LEE YANOR is an autonomous work available to the world. The book has been awarded a design award by Svensk Bokkonst.
The book contains stills from Yanor’s collected works, photographs, emulsions, holograms and video work where we step into the life and work of the world-renowned choreographer Pina Bausch through pictures from the film Coffee With Pina as well as texts by the curator Varda Steinlauf, Madelaine Levy, editor in chief of Bon Magazine, the poet Paul Celan, Pia Forsgren, Lee Yanor and others.
Participants in Small songs
Small songs by Lee Yanor
Theatre manager, artistic director, concept and exhibition design
Elisabeth Secher Svenstedt
Music composed and performed by
Hanan Pomagrin, TheHeder Partnership
Exhibition lighting design
Exhibition sound design
Lightning and sound operator
K-Å Westerlund Byggnads AB & Visual Act
Mediatec Group AB
Projection screen and textiles
Ulf Secher & Marie Åberg Secher, Classicum växthus
Anders Wester, Fredrik Axell, Mats Carlsson
Programme editor and director’s assistant
Mikael T. Zielinski
Exhibition guide manager
Special thanks to
Mark Tompkins (dancer, choreographer, dancer Small Songs)
Mami Shimazaki (Batsheva Dance Company, dancer Small Songs)
Cristiana Morganti (Tanztheater Wuppertal, dancer Cloud 9)
Rami Heuberger (Habima National Theatre of Israel, Void)
Tal Heuberger (Void)
Ron Isaak (Void)
Dana Ivgi (Void)
Leora Kay (Void)
Yvonne Miklosh (Void)
Lenny & Michaela Bourla (Void)
Lee Yanor - between documentary and fiction
Lee Yanor is an artist, photographer and filmmaker and was born in Haifa in 1963. She studied photography at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem and at Paris VIII where she received a Master of Fine Arts in 1993. Lee Yanor has also studied art and photography at the Pratt Institute in New York.
She has participated in several international exhibits at among others Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Tel Aviv Museum of Modern Art, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing and at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. Her most recent solo exhibition was Memory Fields at The Fine Arts Museum in Taipei.
Yanor has a background in the world of dance and it runs like a thread through all her art. Movement, body and rhythm are reoccurring in her photographs and videos. When asked what inspires her she answers “the moment”. Using her camera Yanor wants to portray situations that balance between documentary and fiction. The video installations are dreamlike and are constructed using multiple visual layers. Time and motion are important components in the creation of her art.
In 2006 Yanor got a lot of attention for her piece Coffee with Pina. The nearly hour-long film depicts a meeting between Yanor and the famous choreographer Pina Bausch who died 2009. Yanor was among the very few who were ever invited to Bausch’s studio, and the piece which was filmed between 2002 and 2005, is a unique and beautiful portrait of one of the dance world’s giants. The film was screened in connection with Lee Yanor’s video exhibit SMALL SONGS at The Jewish Theatre.
Coffee with Pina
A film by Lee Yanor
Coffee with Pina is Lee Yanor’s unique cinematic portrait of one of the 20th century’s most influential and famous choreographer – Pina Bausch. The film was screened in connection with Lee Yanor’s video exhibit SMALL SONGS at The Jewish Theatre.
The choreographer Pina Bausch has given dance a new language, far removed from classical ballet. To many the encounter with her art has been overwhelming. The Israeli video artist and photographer Lee Yanor made friends with her in Paris and is one of the very few who has been invited To Pina Bausch’s studio. Coffee with Pina was filmed between the years 2002-2005 and has been screened at a number of major film festivals worldwide.
Pina Bausch passed away 2009 at the age of 69.
“An intense and sincere journey”
May 7, 2010
IN MOTION Lee Yanor is a suggestive artist and her episodic portrayals of memories and moods produces a subtle series.
There is art that grabs us, that swishes us around in a pirouette and then come to a standstill and point to the gateway to our own inner journey. Small Songs is such an exhibit. Intense and sincere. Suggestive and poetic. It has evolved through the cooperation between the Israeli artist and photographer Lee Yanor and Pia Forsgren, Artistic Director at The Jewish Theatre.
Lee Yanor has a background in the dance world. Dance as a means of expression also lends a strong influence to her visual art. Interest in the body and its language, from sweeping movements to small barely visible gestures, is central here.
The current exhibition includes three video works, holographic images and photographs on canvas, previously treated with photo emulsion. The presentation consists of four separate parts. They never form a coherent story, interestingly enough, but together they generate a comprehensive experience. It’s as with Beaudelaire: Countless layers of thoughts, images and feelings – have in turn – hit your brain as easily as light. One might think that each layer might bury the previous, but nothing is completely lost. The impressions accumulate during the walk through the theatre. The details contribute to a kind of choreographed “Gesamtkunstwerk” (mixed-media-artwork), in which sounds and images often interact with each other.
It is obvious from the very beginning. The video installation Void is the sluice to the exhibit. It is therefore impossible to go past it. There is also no time for the eyes to adjust to the darkness. Images and sounds bombard us from all four walls. As an outsider one is suddenly in the middle of an ongoing, charged meeting. The darkness engulfs the floating figures that appear and disappear. One’s gaze, trying to follow a story, quickly becomes disoriented. It is as if different versions of the same story bounced back against each other and broke up into short episodes. We must put them back together as best our individual imagination allows. It is bewildering and beautiful in a way that is hard to describe.
The mood changes completely in the next room. Essential for the still lifes here is the artful lighting. It’s what contributes to the intense impression of one continuous action. On sheer transparent canvases emerge the same motifs as in the prints in the background. The technique enables the underwater images to convey movement in the stream and captures what goes on under the surface. Yanor is the artist of suggestion. She skilfully steers our attention in a certain direction without tracing too concrete contours of the answers. A suite of nine holographic images depicts childhood recreations. The children hang around on the beach. We follow them from afar. Both features and silhouettes disappear into a veil of greyness. They are more shadows from our own past than actual figures. This blurring is indelible. It affords childhood an ounce of immortality.
Because fundamentally it’s all about going back to places, moods and memories. They live again in Yanor’s polyphonic work, where different modes of expression effectively complement each other. The video installation Cloud 9 is shown on nine screens with parallel action. Every scene is a fragment of an elusive whole.
In the disconnected episodes, it’s ultimately more about poetic intensity than about a chronological narrative. As a whole Small Songs offer a subtle series of impressions of how the narrative dissolves in favour of clarity of emotion.
By Joanna Persman
“An inner existential journey”
Review from Dagens Nyheter
April 19, 2010
Video installation with several dimensions
One enters through a greenhouse – furnished with light bentwood furniture by Alvar Aalto – straight into the darkness of the kinetic video installation “Small Songs” at the Jewish Theatre.
The theatrically constructed exhibition by the Israeli artist and photographer Lee Yanor sets the mood in the little theatre near Djurgårdsbrunn in Stockholm. The Director of the theatre Pia Forsgren has altered the entire space for this project.
– We have constructed and re-painted almost the entire place, she says and points out how well the new wall colours complement Lee Yanor’s art, projections and video pieces.
The audience is ushered into the darkness with the help of guides, straight into the first video installation “Void”, which is built as a house within the house, where images and sound whirls around the walls.
– When I made the stage design for a production of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” in Tel Aviv, I had discussions with the actors on the importance of wind in a piece, says Lee Yanor.
In this video installation she wants to convey the feeling of motion, particularly how the actors in the film fly through a storm.
Through a hidden door the audience then emerges into what at first glance seems like a very trendy bar.
– Here one can drink a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, as one turns around and contemplates the pieces on the walls, says Pia Forsgren.
Lee Yanor has worked with multiple layers, both in her choice of materials as well as intellectually, in the seemingly conventional pictures. Printed on sheer fabric canvases the images are the same as on the prints behind them, so as to render them three-dimensional.
On another wall hang holograms where figures appear as in a fog. They seem to move as one progresses in the room.
The Lighting Designer Noa Lev has helped out with the holograms.
– They way the light falls has great importance on how you experience them, to set the light on holograms is not as simple as one might think, she explains.
Next to “the bar” a hot-red room opens up with an additional historic layer. The pictures are from a bathhouse in Pompeii, the Italian city that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. On cotton canvases coated with photographic emulsion a dancer appears in pictures that seem to be a hundred years old and they are in sharp contrast to the other pieces in this exhibition that are all very contemporary in spirit.
In the main theatre all the works are tied together. While the audience sits down in the zebra-striped Aalto armchairs the two films “Void” and Small Songs” are being projected on two separate sets of projection screens. In the films the different motifs from the other art pieces recur.
So how is this Jewish? Pia Forsgren and Lee Yanor both agree that the pieces want to convey thoughts on identity, where one comes from and where one is heading. A question that has strongly affected Jews throughout history but that also concerns people in general.
– I hope that everyone finds their own inner song, says Lee Yanor.
She hopes that “Small Songs” will become a part of an inner existential journey for the audience.
By Lennart Kuick
Summary: Exhibition as a performance
Exhibition as a performance
“ Small Songs” is a choreographed exhibition of video works through which the audience is moving. It is shown free of admission at The Jewish Theatre in Stockholm until June 6, 2010. The artist Lee Yanor has collaborated with the Director of The Jewish Theatre Pia Forsgren and the Lighting Designer Noa Lev.
Lee Yanor has a background as a dancer and her film “Coffee with Pina” – about the great German choreographer Pina Bausch – will be shown starting May 13 at The Jewish Theatre. More of Lee Yanor’s work will be shown at the nearby Djurgårdsbrunn Restaurant.
“Lee Yanor relates to landscapes and memories”
Review from Svenska Dagbladet
May 6, 2010
Excerpt from the article: ”Israeli Double Video Art Scene”
MOBILE ART. Two Israeli artists are currently in Stockholm. Keren Cytter’s films revolve around the tempestuous relationship between women and men. Lee Yanor relates to landscapes and memories. Also shown is her praised portrait of Pina Bausch.
At the Jewish Theatre in Stockholm, Lee Yanor, together with the artistic leader Pia Forsgren, has built a new spatial frame around her work for the exhibition Small Songs, with still images and video art.
For Lee Yanor work with images is as much an internal as an external process. She talks about the volatile and variable, associations, layers, state of mind and memories.
In the first small room the viewer loses his orientation. From the darkness different characters emerge that seem to blow past in the films around the four walls. Void is created especially for the exhibition.
– We worked with fans. When I made the stage design for a production of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” in Tel Aviv, I had discussions with the actors on the importance of wind. The idea with Void is disappearance. The figures appear from nowhere and go nowhere. The entire exhibition wants to touch a different feeling about the body, and photo, says Lee Yanor by phone from her studio in Tel Aviv.
She is extremely pleased with the meeting Pia Forsgren and show how the exhibit has been designed. Small Songs is just as much about that which we can’t see, explains Lee Yanor, who has always been interested in motion and who for several years practiced dance herself.
– Motion in photography is a paradox. I like that contradiction – to try and create a different world.Motion has also to do with memory.
The piece Cloud 9 is a mosaic of moving pictures on nine screens, a flowing stream of nature, animals, bodies, and music. Lee Yanor calls this a multiple photo or a landscape that shifts between blue, red and yellow. In one sequence a polar bear swims between the screens. The music, a Chinese violin, becomes the animal’s underwater voice.
– A friend of mine created the music directly for the images, it becomes a powerful live experience.
In the film Small Songs, which also has lent its name to the entire exhibit, we see – a man and a woman approach each other from opposite directions in a white vacuum – on six screens. His weak song and her falling backwards to the sound of heavy thuds gives the impression of something both tender and unpleasantly violent.
– Yes, all of that is there. It is a state of loss, perhaps death. The white space is like a stage where I bring together these two that do not know each other, says Lee Yanor.
One hears how the artist takes a sip of coffee in her studio in Tel Aviv. She shares her coffee addiction with Pina Bausch, the German world famous choreographer who passed away last summer. Now the Jewish Theatre will also show Lee Yanor’s acclaimed poetic portrait of her, the film Coffee with Pina. During the years 2002-2005 she followed Pina Bausch – all the way into her studio in Wuppertal – where the otherwise so shy, chain-smoking choreographer improvises right in front of the camera.
– We met in Paris. She liked my pictures, I loved her work, and with time a sincere encounter between two artists grew. Pina was affectionate and true, without pretence.
Lee Yanor was given full freedom in the filming and editing, a sort of layer on layer form.
– Pina was very generous and gave me suggestions that were very helpful. She encouraged me to project my own feelings through her work. But after each encounter, I was so drawn into her world thatI was forced to flee in order to become myself again, “says Lee Yanor with a laughter.
And the ”children’s coffee” that Pina offers, what is that?
– Yes, we brought a thermos to the studio. But just strong coffee and cigarettes is not so god, so Pina diluted the coffee with water.
By Anna Ångström
FACTS: Lee Yanor
Lives in: Tel Aviv.
Photo studies: In Jerusalem, Paris and New York.
Exhibits: At Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Tel Aviv Museum of Modern Art, The Venice Biennale for Architecture, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, among others.
“The movement of the journey”
Review from Dagens Nyheter
June 4, 2010
A video installation at The Jewish Theatre.
We fumble about in the dark – and suddenly they appear: running men and women spinning and sweeping with their hair, clothing and limbs. The figures projected along the walls, accompanied by atmospheric music enveloping us in a rhythmic yet unpredictable flow. It gives me goose pimples.
The Israeli artist Lee Yanor has together with the Artistic Director Pia Forsgren created the suggestive video installation ”Void” especially for The Jewish Theatre. The interior of the theatre has been entirely rebuilt for the three-part video and photo installation with the comprehensive title ”Small Songs” (shown until June 6, 2010).
It is evident that Yanor has a background as a dance photographer, the common denominator being motion. Or the journey, the internal and the external, in the past, present and the future.
By Birgitta Rubin
“Coffee with Pina”
Review from Expressen
Coffee with Pina
Film, The Jewish Theatre
The hands, those hands. They never intertwine in a sentimental or pathetic way – but envelop quite objectively – slide into, out and all around. Like fish in an aquarium. The hands of Pina Bausch in Lee Yanor’s film Coffee with Pina become the theme in the nearly hour-long film shot during rehearsals, coffee breaks, and lonely reflective moments
The film premiered in Sweden at The Jewish Theatre and one can only hope that it can be distributed and viewed by a wider audience. At first it appears to ”just” be beautiful, but it turns out that the film ingeniously adds images to each other so that together they really tell something about the work processes, inspirations, and lines of thought of one of our most important contemporary performing artist.
Pina Bausch didn’t want an entire film crew on her heels, but got to know Lee Yanor and accepted her on condition that she would come alone with her camera. Yanor has merged the close-ups of Pina with footage from two dance productions, Agua and Rough Cut as well as rehearsals on stage for these performances.
In this way, images alternate between dancers, mostly women with their hair down and flowing but body-hugging evening gowns – and the thin, black-clad Pina herself. The hair combed smooth gathered in a barrette at the neck, face void of make-up, pure. The voice – one moment happy and girlish – and next grave, thin and harsh.
The sequences of Pina Bausch in front of the mirror in a dance studio, among debris, costumes and leotards are fabulous. As if everything will be easy again – she closes her eyes and lets her
hands and arms slide into a pattern of movements, beautiful, rhythmic, drawn-out. And ending with one arm raised in a wave. As a goodbye when someone leaves.
The film was made between 2002-2005 – in 2009 Pina Bausch died suddenly at the age of 69, after a very brief period of illness. The coffee cup, the cigarette, the perseverance, the seriousness. Actually, I haven’t danced much, muses Pina Bausch. It turned out to be mostly choreography, but it would be fun. … maybe at the back of the stage.
Coffee with Pina is cinematic poetry but also possesses insights into the many perspectives of artistic work. A more beautiful epitaph on Pina Bausch is difficult to imagine.
By Margareta Sörenson