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Onomatopee 217, Jonathan Touitou, 2021

Detective Elchmanyahu’s auto-da-fe

‘When artefacts become evidence and artists are transfigured into fictional characters animated by their worshipping of the Western art, culture shrinks into the narrow border of the state nation.
This is Tweetu's statement, the weird curator and main suspect of the plot.


Detective Elchmanyahu’s auto-da-fe follows the bound to fail investigation on the burning of a public art collection in southern Tel Aviv. Using tricks and trades of the detective novel’s whodunit genre, the story unfolds a police investigation which casts a gloomy yet lucid look over the Israeli culture and its visual art scene. Framed in between fact and fiction by the tendentious writing of Jonathan Touitou, this book is a layered investigation of the art world and its crimes.

Against the backdrop of the second Intifada and todays recurrent undermining of Palestinian rights, this controversial book will provide its various readers with a perspective of an infiltrated outsider on the Israeli society, possibly supply the welding torch for the cynical ones, a bonfire for the freaks and fireworks for the wholehearted.




Born in Paris to immigrated northern African parents, Jonathan Touitou’s trajectory is akin to the wandering Jew. Hoping to reverse the curse, he left France for Jerusalem during the Oslo agreements only to find himself on the road again, twenty years later, for the milk of the holy land had turned sour.
Touitou studied photography and graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Art and design, the gallery of which he later directed and curated. He set up the Reservoir, an unrestricted and freely accessible temporary art collection. Touitou initiated the BAAD gallery, which functioned as a collaborative platform for creative thinkers of various fields. His works were shown at museums and galleries in Zurich, Berlin, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. His writing was commissioned, among others, by the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, the Liebling Haus – White City Center and the Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York. He works and lives with his wife and son in Berlin.


110 x 178 mm / 4.33 x 7 inch portrait
224 (estimate)
Orit Bulgaru and Jonathan Touitou
Jonathan Touitou
Quentin Gaudry, assisted by Aurelie Morra
English and Hebrew
Release date
Ami Asher and Roi Bar
Made possible by
The Israel Lottery Council For Culture & Arts and Onomatopee. The Project BAAD was made possible by the generous support of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem as well as the cooperation of the Bezalel MFA in Tel Aviv.
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