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The Crack


What is the White City #8
The Crack
Artist: Ivry Baumgarten
Curator: Arch. Sabrina Cegla

Opening: 9.5.2024
Thursday at 19:00
Dates: 9.5-14.9. 2024

The exhibition tells the story of Kalmaro House, a building on 26 Rosh Pina Street in south Tel Aviv. It exposes the gap between the idealistic image of the White City as an architectural utopia and the actual reality of the building’s material, cultural, social and economic state.
Twenty years ago, Ivry Baumgarten, an artist and social activist living in the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood, bought an apartment in this building, constructed in 1935, which has since been listed for strict conservation. The installation in the project room presents the alternative documentation Baumgarten created for the building in parallel to the conservation process.
Attempting to improve the living conditions in the deteriorating building, Baumgarten discovered in the Tel Aviv Municipality archive that a crack in the building wall had long been affecting the building and the lives of its residents, many of whom are low-income workers and refugees.
In his documentation of the building and its inhabitants, Baumgarten tries to bridge the gap between conservation as he understands it and the actual process, which seems to clear the building of its residents and history.
The exhibition questions whether it would have been possible to maintain the building’s social and cultural context, preserve it as a home for all its residents, restore the building and thrive without being compelled to participate in the capitalist economy that drives the real estate market, urban development, and conservation. It also questions the relevance of the White City narrative for the city’s dwellers, offering a possible narrative that includes the cracks through which it seeks to create something new.
This personal, reflective story unveils an ambivalent humane attitude toward urban development and the capitalization of urban space as it moves between a sense of community, responsibility, survival and the need for healing in the face of adversity.
This is the eighth exhibition in the Liebling Haus Project Room, the open end of Liebling Haus’s permanent exhibition presenting the story of the White City. The project room is a platform for ongoing, collaborative discourse on conservation, urbanism, culture and identity in the city. Practitioners of various disciplines are invited to explore the question “What is the White City?” take part in a story in the making and address pressing current issues and challenges the city is facing.

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