In the Herzl Street space, ELENA CERETTI STEIN is exhibiting an immersive installation simulating a walk through water along with a huge painting on the wall and additional paintings on the windows of the gallery spaces.

American artist DANIEL ROTHBART is exhibiting a floating sculptural installation in the Pool of Arches evoking prehistorical geological eras in which the sea covered our entire region.

Elena Ceretti Stein | Where Paths Meet

Elena Ceretti Stein’s installation Where Paths Meet on view at the Contemporary Art Center, Ramle, comprises paintings on glass and a painting on a wall of over 9 meters long. Its main thrust is the creation of change in the space by structuring a course through the gallery over a reflective floor. Ceretti Stein engages in the spiritual, not a specific religion, addressing the changing relationship between humanity and the ecosystem: climate change is palpable and unravels what seemed to be “normal” world order. She contemplates the “natural contract” between the two.

In her work, Ceretti Stein revisits sacred myths fixed in the collective memory through three mystical figures: St. George, Muslim saint Al-Khader, and the Jewish Prophet Elijah. They are not portrayed in the space, but are evoked through landscapes associated with them through visual and textual descriptions. The light moves and changes, creating movement and reflections.

The installation questions the essence of the sanctity. Wooden pathways on the floor suggest a course through the space, while parts of the floor are covered with a shiny surface simulating a sea. Ceretti Stein’s sea is charged with meaning, referring to rituals of consecration, initiation, and transition in many cultures, such as the Jewish ritual bath – the mikveh, baptism in Christianity, or the Wudu – ablutions before prayer in Islam. The installation connects to the city of Ramle where the three major monotheistic religions have a presence.

The landscape painting in the window in the main hall features a river and fortified city in a lush countryside of green grass and soft hills. Different versions of this scene appear in depictions of St. George and the Dragon throughout centuries. River as a metonym for waterways symbolizes the origin of the mythical dragon from the sea, similar to the whale in Jewish texts. The fortified city evokes the figure of St. George as a valiant knight. The knight rescues the maiden from the grip of nature embodied in a terrifying creature destined to be vanquished. The subtext is that culture is forever superior to nature. On the 9 m wall is an abstract mixed-media painting, Subtraction (black). Its clouded colors makes it seem almost possible to walk into the wall and be swallowed by a blanket of paint. The softness is illusory; associations can range from atomic mushroom clouds to the scales of a dragon.

In the inner gallery space, two windows feature symbols of two mystical figures: Al-Khader and Elijah. The two are associated with water, eternal life, and an elusive presence in the human sphere. The background of the painting – nature — becomes the main theme, not the figure. The first painting refers to Al-Khader, the righteous saint with great mystical knowledge mentioned in the Qur’an but not named, is the guardian of the sea. His iconography shows him standing over a fish, representing nature in the service of human beings. The greens in the painting refer to the name Al-Khader – “The Green One” – and to photosynthesis.

The second window refers to Elijah the Prophet, an absent presence at every circumcision and Passover seder night. His most renowned miracle is associated with bringing rain during a drought. Ceretti Stein strives to have visitors think about the power relations and exploitation of natural resources by humans through the creation of a new world. Beyond the refracting colors, reflections, and many stories, in a world undergoing rapid changes, Ceretti Stein forms a new space proposing the possibility of harmonic coexistence.

Elena Ceretti Stein (b. 1989) is a multidisciplinary artist who lives in Israel and Milan. She earned her undergraduate degree in cultural studies in London and her MFA (Magna Cum Laude) at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Tel Aviv. She has exhibited in solo exhibitions at Braverman Gallery and the P8 Gallery, Tel Aviv; Contemporaneo Sao Paulo, Premio Francesco, and more. She received a grant for special art projects from the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipalities and a grant from the Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts.


Daniel Rothbart | RamleAnthropocene

Daniel Rothbart, a multidisciplinary artist and writer, engages in ecological issues through his art installations in water sources all over the world in which he installs floating glass and aluminum sculptures. Several years ago he found out about the Pool of the Arches through the internet as part of his research on ancient reservoirs. “RamleAnthropocene” sums up three years of research and artwork focused on the 1,200 year old former cistern in the city of Ramle.

In the exhibition in the Pool of the Arches, Rothbart installed a sculpture reminiscent of marine forms, hinting at prehistoric geological eras during which the Tethys Sea covered our region, as well as referring to the decrease in biodiversity, one of the serious problems caused by humanity’s impact on the ecosystem. The sculptures, like drawings in the air, signs from an unknown alphabet, or perhaps moving and dancing creatures, elude definition, corresponding with the nature of water as a fluid, changing, flowing material. The kinetic sculptures are anchored with weights, made of materials that do not merge or change in water. The glass balls, a repeated motif in his oeuvre, recurring in the works made especially for this exhibition, bring to mind the local glass industry of the past.

Processes of climate change destined to take place in the distant future are taking place now, and are major issues on the international agenda. The current era has been defined as the Anthropocene, the geological era in which for the first time human activity is the main factor shaping life on Earth. Rothbart responds to the change, referring to the issue of conserving water which is expected to become a limited nature resource very soon. Through his moving sculptures, floating with the current, Rothbart refers to basic issues of humanity’s relationship to the ecosystem and to the site’s history. He treats the Pool of the Arches as a kind of treasure trove of resonances of various eras, facilitating contemplation of the past and thoughts on the present and the future.

Rothbart has been making art for decades on ecological issues. He installed works in water sites in various locations in the world, such as the installation Everything Flows, Nothing Stays The Same (For Enrico Pedrini) installed in hot mineral springs in Aachen Germany (2012) and Water Clocks: A Floating Sculptural Installation in the Hudson River (2021), during the pandemic.

Daniel Rothbart holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Columbia University. Among his studio projects are Inscrutable Theologies, Aachen, Germany; Flotilla, Venice; Waterlines, Galerie Depardieu, Nice. His works have been exhibited at Rome’s Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna; CR10 Arts, Linlithgo, NY; and in NYC, at Andrea Meislin, WhiteBox, Exit Art and the Lab Gallery. He received a Hays-Fulbright Grant for a stay in Italy. His works are in public and private collections, including the MOMA, NYC. Rothbart lives and works in New York.


The exhibition in the Pool of the Arches is supported by the NYSCA Foundation, New York State’s cultural foundation. During the exhibition, two evenings will be held in New York at the Whitebox and the JCC-Jewish Community Center, Manhattan, with a documentary screening from the Pool of the Arches. The film will tell about the CACR as a center of art and culture in the multicultural city of Ramle.


* The Center for Contemporary Art, Ramle-CACR is a venue for exhibiting art established in 2019. It was founded on the basis of the recognition of the vital necessity of art in an open civic society. The institution resonates the multicultural aspect and religious tolerance that characterizes its activities in Ramle, a world city with a rich heritage. Dr. Smadar Sheffi is the founder and Chief Curator of the CACR.


At the Herzl 112 space – Elena Ceretti Stein | Where Paths Meet

Festive opening: Sept. 19, 2023, at 5:30 p.m.

Closing: Jan. 12, 2024


At the Pool of Arches – Daniel Rothbart |RamleAnthropocene

Festive opening: Sept. 19, 2023, at 7:30 p.m.

Closing: Dec. 15, 2023

 Curator: Dr. Smadar Sheffi

Free entrance