The central exhibition of 2019 Manofim Festival will take place in Bikur Cholim Hospital, at the heart of Jerusalem.
The hospital opened in the Old City of Jerusalem in the mid-19th century to meet the need for health services for the Jewish Yishuv, and moved to its present location on Hanevi’im Street in 1925. Thanks to its strategic location in the city center, the hospital provided critical medical care to many casualties over the years, from the War of Independence to the terrorist attacks of the 1990s and 2000s.
The fascinating history of Bikur Cholim exemplifies the radical transformations that have taken place in the Israeli healthcare system over the past thirty years, with the advent of neoliberalism. Since the hospital was not supported by the government, Bikur Cholim Society that ran the hospital faced financial difficulties, and from the late 1980s incurred heavy debts. Since 2004, the official receiver made several attempts to sell the hospital, and in 2007 it was eventually sold to business tycoon Arkadi Gaydamak. In December 2012, the hospital’s operation was handed over to the management of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, while most of the wards in the hospital were closed, and since then it has been operating as an extension of the medical center.
In 2015, Gaydamak sold the hospital complex to Taaman Real Estate, and it is currently leased to Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The corporation wishes to change the designation of the building from public use (hospital) to a mixed urban area, which will include two huge modern buildings complete with apartments, parking lots, and commercial areas around the historic building. This may turn out to be the final nail in the coffin of Bikur Cholim operation as a hospital.
Today, the main building of the hospital is deserted, and Ziv Building (formerly the German Hospital), which is still in use, houses mainly birthing rooms, a neonatal intensive care unit, and a maternity ward.
The exhibition Nurse Nurse will be displayed in the hospital’s active building, whose main concern is bringing new life into the world. The exhibition will set out to position itself in a space where a call for help is heard. It will shift between the desire to be healed and recuperate and the challenge to accomplish this goal due to medical, economic, bureaucratic, or personal considerations. The artworks will examine the question of the effectiveness of recovery: From the most intimate and personal place of the individual patient, through the strict protocols and guidelines imposed in medical institutions, to the possibility of healing and recovering crumbling institutions in the face of economic processes and overpowering real estate ventures.
Featuring: Nelly Agassi, Reut Asimini, Sharon Balaban, Aya Ben Ron, Chen Cohen, Hadassa Goldvicht, Michal Heiman, Moran Lee Yakir, Karam Natour, Public Movement, Tomer Sapir, Ran Slapak, Jasmin Vardi, Gideon Gechtman, Andi Arnovitz, Yuri Kuper and The Testube Group: Tali Kayam, Elinor Sahm, Michal Roth
Curators: Rinat Edelstein and Lee He Shulov
Associate curator and producer: Hadassa Cohen
Location: Bikur Cholim Hospital, Across from 14 HaRav Agan Street
On opening night – entrance from 6 Strauss Street
Safra Square parking,
Ashdar Center parking (8 Harav Kook Street),
HaAmudim parking (48 Jaffa Street)
Special opening hours during the Festival:
Regular opening hours:
Patients in their bed at the Women’s Ward, Bikur Cholim Hospital, Jerusalem 1930-1940, Yad Ben Zvi Collection