top of page

Edition of X

Edition of X

While Dictators Rage 2016, installation view, Tel-Aviv Museum of Art.JPG
michal helfman,while dictators rage,2013.jpg

While dictators rage

Tel-Aviv University Gallery 2013

Martin Gropius Bau 2016

Tel-Aviv Museum of Art 2016

Felix Nussbaum Haus 2017

While Dictators Rage is inspired by the painting "The Triumph of Death", created by artist Felix Nussbaum in 1944 from his hiding place in Belgium. Nussbaum was killed in Auschwitz a few months later, and this was the last painting he had completed. 


In the painting, a group of skeletons playing different musical instruments, on what seems like a chaotic pile of objects symbolizing western culture, thought, and science at its glory. 



On the lower-left side of the painting, among the piled objects, there is a piece of paper with the opening notes of the song "The Lambeth walk", taken from the musical "Me and my girl".


"The Lambeth Walk" was a hit that started as a popular dance in London and then spread to the rest of Europe and the US. 


In 1938 the song received a headline in "Times" magazine: "while dictators rage, Europe dances The Lambeth walk". The Times article defined "The Lambeth craze" as a symptom of European citizen's apathy towards the increasing growth of fascist regimes on the continent. The song's symbolic status changed during the war, and it became a monument for the British people's civilian resistance, while they kept attending to "Me and my girl" during the German blitz on London.


The installation “While dictators rage” quotes several fragments from Nussbaum's painting and transforms them into a three-dimensional scenery. This installation uses as a stage for a violin and clarinet duet – these being two of the instruments played by skeletons in the painting. The musicians play a deconstructed arrangement of “The Lambeth Walk" that was specially composed for this piece.

While Dictators Rage 2014, installation view from the front. Tel-Aviv University Art Galle
Live reaarangement to _The Lambeth Walk_. Martin Gropius Bau. 2016 .JPG
While Dictators Rage, 2014, installation view from the front. Tel-Aviv University Art Gall
michal helfman,while dictators rage1.jpg
bottom of page