A modern fertility clinic is the setting of Ruth Patir’s video work Petach Tikva, centering on Nine figures that are situated in a waiting room, expecting their allotted appointments. As the figurines – 3000-year-old deities originating from Canaanite fertility rituals – await their turn, TV screens present the news of wild animals invading urban space.
By positioning fertility deities in a fertility clinic Patir points to the societal expectation of women to bear children. The ancient ritual is replaced with the modern visit to the clinic, and the deities transform from celestial entities to physical bodies, in need of medical treatment. Although the work travels long distances in time, it remains relatively close to home; the artist has chosen figures that were found in the region and are part of the Israel Museum’s archeology collection.
Patir’s decision to animate fertility deities exemplifies the minimal changes that have occurred in the regional society’s perception of the familial structure and its significance. The figurines have been placed by the artist in a fictional scene in August 2020 to create a poignant mediation on the various forms of invasion we experience in contemporary reality.
This film was made possible with the support of Artport Residency, Tel Aviv.