David Perlov, The Magician, détail, 1962

David Perlov Filmmaker, photographer, drawer

October 2, 2018 – March 31, 2019

David Perlov (1930-2003) is one of the key figures of Israeli cinema in the last quarter of the 20th century. Yet the scope of his oeuvre, sustained by his lifelong practice of drawing and photography, extends far beyond his work as a filmmaker.

David Perlov, The Magician, 1962

David Perlov, The Magician, 1962

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1930, David Perlov grew up in Belo Horizonte then went to live in São Paulo. There, his meeting with the painter, sculptor and etcher Lasar Segall (1891-1957), his grandfather’s neighbour, opened new horizons for him, and it was as an artist that he arrived in Paris in 1952 to study painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He stayed in Paris until 1958, when he joined his wife Mira at Kibbutz Bror Hayil in southern Israel. One of the pioneers of Israeli documentary cinema and recipient of the 1999 Israel Prize, Perlov taught at the University of Tel-Aviv from 1973 until he died in 2003.

Perlov’s Paris years and his immersion in the city’s film world marked a turning point. Attending film clubs and meeting Alain Resnais and Chris Marker, from whom he bought his first camera, he began to explore the mediums of photography and cinematography. He met Henri Langlois, director of the Cinémathèque française, who commissioned him to edit a documentary on Marc Chagall by Joris Ivens (which remained unfinished). His first film, Tante Chinoise et les autres (Old Aunt China), was inspired by Marguerite Bonnevay’s childhood drawings. These experiences structured his approach to creation, establishing a tension between the intimate and the universal that he would exploit later in his Diary, the intimate, family and political chronicle composed of six one-hour episodes that he began in 1973 and pursued for a decade.

The fantasies that Perlov depicts in his drawings highlight other aspects of his creation, in which he gives free rein to his dreams and sentiments, sometimes combining different temporalities in the same work. These rarely exhibited works shed new light on his documentary films, counteracting linearity and emphasising the presence of memories and the past in his apprehension of the present. Perlov’s drawings and photographs can be regarded as the notes that enabled him to find the right tone with which to express himself. This exhibition explores this dialogue between his drawings, films and photographs.

Unless otherwise stated, the works on display are in the David Perlov family collection.


Curator: Fanny Schulmann
Scientific adviser: Galia Bar Or
Works registrar: Pascal Concordia
Scenography and space management: Victor Torossi, with Olivier Bejannin, Arnaud Lamiral and Georgetta Mocanu
Framing: Arnaud Lamiral
Audio-visual installation: Guy Garcia
Ingénierie, installation: Atelier des 3 coups
Lighting: Claudio Varone
Graphic design: DocLevin
Signage: Duograph


Mira, Yaël et Noémie Perlov, Nathalie Jungerman, Pascale Samuel, Hila Peleg, Camille Filaferro, Philippe-Alain Michaud, Ariel Schweitzer, Isabelle Regelsperger, Michael Gordon Studio, Pip Chodorov, Fanny Roilette, la Cinémathèque française, le Centre Pompidou, les éditions Re :Voir, les éditions La Table Ronde

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Jean Besancenot, Jeunes filles juives d’Erfoud (young girls from Erfoud), Morocco, 1930s

Tuesday 30 June 2020 – Sunday 18 April 2021

Fourteen photo booth photographs pinned to a wall, glass plate, 20th century 
© mahJ collection, gift of Ariel Fenster

Saturday 15 May – Sunday 10 October 2021

Amedeo Modigliani, Portrait de Dédie, 1918, Paris, Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre de création industrielle, donation de M. et Mme André Lefèvre en 1952

From June 17 until October 31, 2021


Contemporary gallery

Rates and reservation 

Free entrance