2014 Michael Kessus Gedalyovich
The Placebo Scroll follows a journey from the Eden Hills in Israel to the Peruvian Amazon, by way of the Moroccan plains. Gedalyovich embarked on this journey in order to meet healers, shamans, rabbis, priests and amulet-makers who might have knowledge unknown or unrecognised outside their communities. The artist exchanges experiences with them and records the process on an illustrated scroll, which serves as a journal or captain’s log in a way similar to disparate traditions ranging from China to the Torah, from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Middle East. Gedalyovich’s journey started on 15 March 2014, at the start of Purim – a holiday that originates on the equinox, from which April Fool’s day also stems.
The purpose of Gedalyovich’s journey is to search for cures for diseases that have not yet been identified. Through this, he hopes to find ways to recapture the mysterious and magical power of art – a capacity that was put aside during modern times, mostly replaced by conflicts over aesthetics, politics and money.
In addition to the scroll, the 31st Bienal includes a collection of talisman pills in a small cabinet. The talismans were painted by Gadalyovich onto medical pills, and are accompanied by a description of their healing power and after-effects. These pills can be seen as contemporary amulets related to old Jewish traditions such as the mezuzah. Due to the proscription of idols, Jewish amulets emphasise text and names – shape, material and colour make no difference. – GE