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Frankfurt Kitchen – Serves You Right

Exhibition opening: 18.5.23

Ohad Kabri, Nova Dobel, Angela Anzi
Exhibition opening: 18.5.23

Eighteen months ago Liebling Haus installed an original Frankfurt Kitchen – a seemingly pioneering workspace designed in the spirit of modernism by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. This symbol of women’s liberation is now subject to the second phase of the exhibition, which offers a more complex view of that feminist existence then and now. In works of video and sound concealed throughout the kitchen, Ohad Kabri, Nova Dobel, and Angela Anzi explore the place of women in the 20th century, moving from the private through the domestic to the public and political.
The kitchen was gifted in 2021 by the Ernst May Gesellschaft and Frankfurt Municipality to mark 40 years of the twin town relationship between Frankfurt and Tel Aviv-Yafo.
Curator: Shira Levy Benyemini; production: Noam Bar

The works
Frankfurt Kitchen – Serves You Right
Three videos and one sound work, all concealed in various locations in the kitchen. Through these works, the artists enhance the experience of the kitchen as a cultural process that began as a feminist herald and symbol of progress in the 1920s, its integration in Eretz Israel-Palestine, and the experience of the contemporary modern kitchen as a completely different type of space.

Local Flavors
Ohad Kabri and Nova Dobel
The wall of the refrigerator space in the Frankfurt Kitchen has a hole meant to ventilate the fridge. From this hole emerges a female mouth, wearing lipstick that bites into local dishes made by generations of mothers. One after the other, the mouth is served with slices of melon, pita-pizza, a spoonful of jelly, a piece of plain bread with white cheese, and a chocolate cake. Recipes from cookbooks published at the time of the establishment of the State and its first decades, How to Cook in Palestine, From the Kitchen with Love, Cakes for Every Occasion, and other books that were to be found in every kitchen are displayed. The video examines the figure of the women in these books, as a nourishing figure who is herself undernourished, a feeder who is expected to eat little and politely.
3:26 min
Videography: Ohad Kabri
Performance: Nova Dobel

Stop Motion
Nova Dobel and Ohad Kabri
The video features a darkened figure in a dark kitchen performing a range of actions, cutting vegetables, cooking, and washing up – a range of iconic, routine tasks, repetitive, familiar, and simple. However, among the familiar acts appear others that are non-iconic yet very familiar – a finger cut by a knife, a book being read, the agitated wait for the day to come to an end. Throughout all these acts the space is so dark that it becomes almost impossible to recognize the figure except for one dot of light that follows her actions and draws a line of bright light in the space. This light reveals the form of the act: what does waiting look like? What does a cut on the finger look like?
The work is based on research in the field of scientific management which began to develop in the late 19th and early 20th century and aimed at maximizing progress and efficiency in all areas. The work seeks to focus on the hyper-efficient and hyper-realistic reality of kitchen work and the mood of the person performing it, perhaps through lack of choice.
Videography: Ohad Kabri
Performance: Nova Dobel

Dish of the Day
Ohad Kabri and Nova Dobel
A messy pile of screens together forms a ritual for preparing a fried egg. The bottom screen displays the gas hob, above which is a screen with the frying pan, and on the top of the pile is a cell phone playing a loop of an egg being fried over and again.
The kitchen is first and foremost a room in which food is prepared, the source of the nourishment of the household. Its central role has led over time and cultures to the development of different rituals concerning the preparation and consumption of food, from grand royal banquets to Bedouin hosting traditions.
In our time and place these rituals still involve forks and plates and remain attached to the need to satisfy the body. However, new tools, screens, and cameras have entered the mix and the body is now nourished by more than just the caloric values of the food it digests – likes, comments, and social worth are also part of the equation.

0:54 min

Sweet Tongue
Angela Anzi
A sound work by the Swiss artist Angela Anzi, a collaborator on the research for this exhibition. The piece is housed in a porcelain teapot that completes an original set from the period of the kitchen. The teapot is a replica of the original, yet when its lid is removed it reveals a dial phone earpiece that can be pressed against the ear to listen to the words it emits.
Frankfurt Kitchens are displayed in museums around the world as symbols of modernist design. They present a historical feminine space without questioning the social models that inform it. The sound work Sweet Tongue invites listeners to play a role-playing game. The female voice gives delicate compliments, describes images of gender attributions, and sings using a language of imagery that evokes unity and solidarity. The speaker’s perspective shifts over time transitioning from second- to first-person speech. The text repeats itself yet changes and evolves with each iteration just as the modernist narrative of the Frankfurt Kitchen is constructed and updated repeatedly, often eliminating the spatial division of gendered work.
The artist treats repetition as an opportunity for renewed internal interpretation. Sweet Tongue uses metaphorical means to contemplate the Frankfurt Kitchen as a space for construction and social constructs.
Writer: Angela Anzi
Voice: Sabine Schädler
Jug design: Ohad Kabri
Jug production: Talia Shoval - Cérame Pottery

Nova Dobel and Ohad Kabri
Placeholder is a series of still photos. The first presents the kitchen of Nova Dobel, one of the artists in the project, and four other photos present the same kitchen exactly but as four scenes with abundant detail. In one photo the kitchen is designed as a bedroom, in the second as a forest, the third as a library, and the fourth as a pub. In each photo, Dobel sits in the heart of the scene in a serene, static position simply experiencing the space. In the forest, she dries her socks on the bonfire and fishes in a small lake that is the kitchen sink; in the bedroom, she lies on the marble counter that has become a bed and reads a book, and so on. “My grandmother immigrated from Tripoli, she was a strong woman with 11 children and in all my memories of her, she’s in the kitchen, which was her absolute kingdom. Her circumstances denied her the ability to gain an education or to see the world in the way that I have experienced” says Nova, “I wanted to take her out of there, to allow her to learn, explore, develop, and rest.”
These are historical speculative photos that combine fact with fiction and do so with the calmness and serenity that belong more to fairy tales than to real life.
Framed still photographs
Photographer: Michael Tzur
Actor: Nova Dobel
Design Ohad Kabri and Nova Dobel

Nova Dobel is an initiator in the field of theater and performance, an actor, storyteller, ASME sound artist. Her work attends to the intimate relationship between form and sound, focusing on memories and feminism.

Ohad Kabri is a multifaceted designer and design researcher. His diverse interests span the exploration of local material culture, the creation of conceptual and speculative objects, and the development of video and installation works. Throughout his projects, Kabri consistently examines the realm of design and the expressive language of objects.

Angela Anzi works in the fields of sculpture, sound, and performance. Her works include open landscapes that undermine conventional perceptions. Her sculptural creations are given a stage, develop their own life, and reveal themselves in sound. Through sequences of choreographic acts, Anzi challenges expectations, giving new meaning to things.

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