The artists Gil & Moti, originally from Israel and now located in the Netherlands, have been working together since 1994. Two personalities have become one: the identically dressed duo makes no distinction between life and art.
Gil & Moti's work is focused on establishing a connection with individuals or communities and allowing these connections to guide the direction and framework of their art. Their work examines far-reaching societal issues such as tolerance, religion and marginalization. Gil & Moti do not plan their encounters beforehand, leaving room for chance and spontaneous meetings. This often results in videos in which both Gil & Moti and their visiting headliners are in the spotlight.
In 2017 Gil & Moti spent several months as artists-in-residence in Rio de Janeiro. There they met Gustav, a favela dweller who became their tour guide and gambling instructor. Gustav also became the main character of Gil & Moti's latest work. Donkey Without a Tail sees Gustav taking the duo on an exciting and heartfelt journey into the history and traditions of Brazil as well as the impoverished day-to-day of the Rio de Janeiro slums. The title of the work was inspired by Gustav's utterance: the poor are like donkeys without a tail.
Gustav takes Gil & Moti to the streets at night, to the common bars and to the pusher and police contested favelas. He talks openly about his methods of getting by, his dreams and his worry for his children. "It's complicated, being poor," he says. The video shows us the darker side of life, but there are also points of light. Helping those in need, friendship, dreams and hope are all enduring themes.
The theme of dreams is contextualized by a popular game of chance called jogo de bicho, or animal lottery. It is illegal to play the game in Brazil, but that hasn't stopped it from spreading to almost every corner of the city. The lottery consists of an array of 25 different animals who are each associated with four numbers. Anyone can enter the draw with any amount of money they choose, making the game accessible to the poor. The game is rife with superstition and rituals. Seeing an animal from the game in your dream, for instance, might be an omen worth betting money on.
Gil & Moti showed work at Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova for the first time when participating in the 2015 Turku Biennial with their works In Your Shoes and Heart Whisperer. In the fall of 2017 they spent three months in the HIAP (Helsinki International Artist-in-residence Programme) residence. They are currently spending a second period at HIAP from April to June in 2018. Gil & Moti work and live in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The project is supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Mondriaan Fund Artist-in-Residency Grant – Capacete, Rio de Janeiro and CBK Rotterdam.