CM: Alcalay has long worked on marionettes, many of which were used in her installation entitled To Those Who Lived Together, To Those Who Died Together of 1997, which is kept at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art . This installation comprises the immobile bodies of a group of lifeless marionettes, as if they perished in the Holocaust. Naked and colorless, these marionettes evoke the essence of the human condition. Above them hover a couple of marionettes, the Bride and the Groom, who have escaped the Holocaust. Dressed in full attire and with colourful apperance, the Bride and Groom emblematize life, youth, love, marriage, and family.
All the marionettes in this installation are bound to one another for ever. Alcalay wishes to inspire that "Life is hand-in-hand with death". The suspended marionettes are sensitive to any external factors. The slightest gust of wind puts them in motion. The lifeless marionettes lie down in natural poses, as a group of friends that is having a casual rest. All the marionettes are alive in the realm of toys, and are given life by the hand of the artist, which - in this instance - plays the role of God. To evoke the feel of adolescent innocence, Alcalay put her self in the place of girls in the past, making their own toys by using raw material in the scale of puppets. The scale used for these marionettes (approximately 75 centimeters tall) creates a feel of intimacy, and was adopted by Alcalay to evoke the carefree air of the children's world and to play down the gravity and tragedy of the original subject.
This monument is a painless artwork that calls for the beholders' sympathy and compassion. For Alcalay, this monument is a testimony to the history of her community, which perished in the concentration camps. By extension, this work is a monument to existence, trauma, romanticism, tradition, values of the human race and the elloquence of art.
The Monument to Those who Lived Together is a photographic record of the original installation. Every photograph varies remarkably from one another in terms of scale and angle. Recording various aspects of the marionettes, the photographs evoke a non-verbal conversation. Alcalay made a series of black-and-white photographs to imitate an archive documenting war. This archive however is gathered through the 'eyes' of a marionette. Placed directly on the floor, the photographs force the beholders to slow their pace, to look down, to pay more attention. With Monument Alcalay intended to expose her feelings on the floor, to make a vulnerable and fragile work and to dislocate its beholders.
[Megakles Rogakos 09/2006]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens