Cotton Plant Solo Exhibition

Lorch-seidel contemporary , Berlin, 13 sep-21 Oct 2017


press release

"A patriotic landscape, a crumbling political and social reality, an idealized nature and a conflicted identity, an elaborate symbolism and a fractured national ethos, an ongoing fragility and eruptions of violence–all these pervade Dafna Kaffeman’s solo exhibition of glasswork and prints that evoke and confront these powerful and overwhelming issues"
Irena Gordon, Text for the exhibition Cotton Plant


“I took three empty bottles I found at home,
we found two more and drove to the gas station …
We were all heated up and angry
and we agreed we would burn down something that belongs to Arabs.
We tried to find the store
of an Arab to burn down,
and then we talked and decided to take it a step further.
We said: they took three of ours,
let's take one of theirs.
We decided to do away with someone,
to kidnap him, beat him to a pulp and dump him.
We saw a tall guy. I told them:
this one, we can subdue him, get out of the car quickly …
I saw N slap the guy,
and M grabbed his mouth so he won't scream.
They forced him into the car. The guy tried to go berserk,
started to yell Alla Akhbar.
At this point M choked him and I yelled:
finish him off, finish him off. He should kill him.
The guy began to rattle, at some point
he stopped struggling.I was afraid he'd rise up against us.
I decided to drive toward the Jerusalem Forest to get rid of him.
I told M to press hard and finish him off so he won’t get up,
I was trembling at the thought that he might turn on me.
I hit the guy in the head with the crowbar as I was saying:
this is for Shalhevet Paz. I hit him twice
in his head and said to N: get the gasoline.
He started pouring the gasoline on the guy's head
and then gave me the bottle and I kept
pouring the gasoline on the guy's legs.
I kicked him three times and said:
this is for Eyal, and this is for Naftali, and this is for …
I don't remember the name of the third,
maybe Gil'ad …I lit the guy with the lighter
and everything was on fire.
We were shocked because what we did was not like talking.
We're merciful Jews,
we're kind-hearted.
We got bummed out.”
Transcript of the murder of Mohammed Abu Khadeir
Nir Hasson | Haaretz Newspaper | 12 August 2014
Translation Beatrice Smedley

In June 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by Palestinian terrorists. A short time later, three
young Israelis kidnapped a fifteen-year-old Palestinian boy, beat him, poured gasoline on him, and set him on fire.
Kaffeman places the disturbing confession of one of the Israeli kidnappers, reprinted on paper, amid her delicate etchings of
cotton plant twigs and blossoms. In Kaffeman’s prints, the pure white of the cotton wool – a plant often associated with
the exploitation of both humans and nature – becomes a sombre black, so that the long exhibition wall resembles a burnt
field of cotton.
In the second part of the exhibition, Kaffeman assembles replicas of plants from Israel – twigs, blossoms, seeds – in front of
white felt backgrounds that are imprinted with quotations from a guide to Israel’s flora. Each plant has its own cultural and
iconographic meaning. The book was written in 1965, and when read today, its admonitions seem almost to have fallen out
of time.
Kaffeman’s quiet juxtapositions of current political events and conventional lines of thought are no partisan indictments.
Through their pointed emphasis, they seek instead to broaden our perspective, to steer out attention – in this instance,
toward spiral of violence that is almost incomprehensible to outsiders and that, in its most extreme forms, targets
innocent civilians

“If you thirst for a homeland and seek shelter in its bosom,
love it and live it in its mountains and valleys, its flora and fauna.”
“And if you believe in your power, commune with the plants and animals you are growing,
study their properties and learn to control them and bend them to your will.”
Homeland Plants – A Survey of Their Life, Injuries and Diseases | Yavne Publishers | 1965