Paul Groot

Yariv Alter Fin

Yariv Alter Fin, who died last August, was too industrious and versatile to be the kind of artist you encounter in galleries and exhibitions. I say this with as much respect as regret, because the art world is too insular to really understand his happily split character. His "[v]ideo:an UnCommercial" is in my top ten, along with world-renowned works like Picasso's Guernica and Mondrian's Boogie-Woogie paintings.


Burn, Yariv Alter Fin - Mediamatic Outdoor Projections 2004

It is one of his early works, one that should be categorized in the same tradition as some of Rimbaud's poems. He creates a marvelous fantasy world of images that only much later become available to others. Only a few people have ever confirmed my admiration for this video, which is prophetic in every way. The most banal thing about it is that its Amsterdam location was later turned into a supermarket.

The scene is simple: on the right is a chair against a wall covered with graffiti, and on the left a shopping cart with a video monitor and a loudspeaker. Alter Fin enters the scene, sits on the chair and holds the shopping cart with the TV screen showing a spinning doll's head. He starts rocking the cart in a rough tempo, to and fro, left to right. At the same time, the doll's head starts spinning really fast, and before you know it, it shoots forward out of the cart. Then the dazzling performance begins. You suddenly see the inside of the whirling head a rapidly spinning globe inside her spinning head - and then majestic white clouds against a blue sky.

After an initial image of a miniature replica of the head inside the head, it too suddenly shoots out, and then, like a mirror image of the video itself, conjures back the artist and his shopping cart. Alter Fin disappears and is replaced by a dollar bill, with the spinning head at its center. The artist announces the video's 'Fin', and after a quick shot of a passing dog, it's all over. The film then regains control over itself, so to speak, and everything starts all over again.

All the ground prepared by Escher and Magritte is thrown back into our faces in one spectacular move.

See for yourself at Maybe you'll be the first to agree that [v]deo:an UnCommercial? is a true masterpiece. If so, be so kind to email me (