I have always found it strange that place names re-occur from city to city, country to country. Really? Can’t town planners show a little more originality? The coincidences do provide for all sorts of artistic exploration, however, and Efrat Hakimi’s exhibition “Zion,” curated by Avi Lubin at Hamidrasha Gallery in Tel Aviv, is no exception. Hakimi chose her subject well: there is Zion, Illinois, just north of Chicago, where Hakimi currently lives. There is Zion National Park in Utah, one of the great national parklands, set amid the state of Mormonism. And there is the first Zion, the hill on which King David built the ancient citadel of Jerusalem, origin of the term Zionism and the practice of referring to present-day Jerusalem as Zion. How this all figures into one exhibition owes much to contemporary modes of storytelling: through narrative and exploratory video footage, archival research and photography, and the culling of choice facts from often convoluted histories. The coincidences are always surprising, sometimes startlingly profound. Plus, there’s promise of more: with dozens of Zions across the globe, Hakimi could just keep on going.
—Lori Waxman 2020-02-01 6:30 PM