Pinchas Cohen Gan, Touching the Border, 1974

On 7 January 1974, four Israeli artists went to four of the country’s borders. Each of them marked the spot where he was stopped by the army by burying a lead ingot (0.4x100x4 cm) bearing information on the balance of military forces of the country across the border. The information was drawn from a report published in the 15 October 1973 issue of Time Magazine. Pinchas Cohen Gan went to the border with Jordan, Gabi Klasmer to the border with Egypt, Sharon Keren to the border with Lebanon, and Marc Scheps went to the border with Syria. Concurrently, Cohen Gan sent four letters to artists associations in the countries across the border asking them to undertake similar actions on their side of the border.

From the artist’s journal, 30 March 1974: “The border is printed as an inner line, and its marking is graphic-visual. The border of our strength is not territorial but cultural, a border between cultures, and the distance between them is infinitely greater than the geographic distance. The points at which you will be stopped are those marking the border. These are not fixed points, but are subject to political conditions and constantly changing situations. The significance of the Touching the Border action is purely spiritual. The inner border splitting the population of Jerusalem is the same as the interethnic border in Israel. Touching the Border is the posing of a question concerning a cultural and political fact”.