Artist. Photographer, (in the past, Painter).
A Sexual, Political and Ever-Learning Human Being.
A Father. A Son.
Born in Israel in 1960. A human Right Lawyer, a Kitchen and Pastry Chef.
Since 2011 resides in Berlin, in a personal, political, voluntary exile.
I am Avi Berg, a French-Israeli living in Berlin. I was born in Israel in 1960, in a Moshav (an agricultural community similar to a Kibbutz but less cooperative and much less known outside of Israel). At the time, people living in Kibbutzes and Moshavs considered themselves (and were similarly considered by the Israeli Jewish society) as being at the helm of Zionism. During most of my childhood and adolescence I was in complete solidarity with this sentiment - with a deep sense that I and the collective identity I belonged to were representing a right (in the highest degree), just cause. One which should be regarded as exemplary by the rest of the world.
In parallel, and in what may seem a strange and even contradictory trajectory, ever since I remember myself I always felt a deep personal sense on not-belonging, of alienation from the very small community in which I was growing up (around 300 people in total), and with regards to the wider human circles that surrounded me.. As of my early teens I began experiencing (what developed through the years into) a lengthy and painful process of disillusionment from the Israeli national and cultural ethos. This process culminated in 2011, when the rift became unbearable and I left Israel, my homeland, in a voluntary political act of exile, and moved to Berlin.
Thirty years ago, after my military service (and pretty much as a result of the traumatic experiences I had in it) I decided to study art and after graduating held a successful career as an Artist, working mainly in painting, for about ten years.
Twenty years ago, at the age of 34 - married to woman with two very young children - I suspended all artistic activity following the intense personal revelation that I was a Homosexual. It was clear to me then that insisting on an uninterrupted artistic career, while at the same time intensively building a new life for myself from the very foundation and integrating my children into it would be almost impossible and would necessarily result in a deep and continuous existential frustration. It wasn’t an easy decision. The realization that gaining something so precious resulted in losing another thing, which was also very precious to me was tragic. Before that turning point I couldn’t image I would be able to survive in the world without actively making Art.
Since then I had two other major junctions in my life.
In year 2000, several events brought me to the realization that the Jewish society in Israel wasn’t willing to move forward towards a (painful but imperative) compromise with the Palestinians. Nor was it willing to heal itself from a constant state of belligerency, racism and massive human rights’ abuse. I decided then that I must leave Israel. But since my children (who weren’t in my full custody) were too young at the time I knew I would have to postpone the carrying out of this decision. In order to make life in the Israeli reality bearable till the time when I would be able to leave I went to study law (at the age of 42), became a Human Rights’ Lawyer and later worked in various Israeli Human Rights civil society NGOs.
The other junction occurred in 2006, when I was diagnosed with a very aggressive type of cancer. Luckily I survived it and was practically cured after receiving extreme medical treatment.
At that same year I resumed my artistic activity and have been pursuing it since. Since my first days as an artist, my artistic work has always included a significant conceptual element. It still does.