11/10/2019 — 12/01/2020

Wild Bet

The exhibition Wild Bet revolves around gambling as a social psychological phenomenon. The exhibition is a total theatrical installation, in which the artist duo Gil & Moti take the viewer into a world of public gambling machines, seductive gambling halls, simple back rooms and illegal gambling, and in the promise of happiness that beckons there. The artists saw a connection between the chance gamblers take in the hope of monetary happiness and the gamble taken by migrants when they leave their home in the hope of a better life. They delved into the gambling scenes of three different cities - Rio de Janeiro, Helsinki and Rotterdam - and there they talked to migrants about their motives and their lives.

In an intensely personal, disarming way, Gil & Moti released poignant stories about a lack of perspective, the lack of home, the sometimes hostile new environment, and the parallel world of the gambling hall or gambling game as an opportunity to escape it. They incorporated these stories into room-filling installations, in which they play with the specific atmosphere and setting of the gambling scenes in the three cities. The lead role is for videos, in which they bring the grinding documentary reality to a head with burlesque imitation or soften it with loving attention.

Field research in Rio, Helsinki and Rotterdam
Aan Wild Bet preceded three years of field research on site. In Rio de Janeiro, Gil & Moti followed the trail of the illegal gambling game 'Jogo de Bicho' (animal game) that is played all over the street. Here they made a film with Gustav, who acts as their gambling instructor and guide, reveals to them the genesis of the game, shows the harsh everyday reality in the favelas and tells about his dreams and his concerns for his children.

In Helsinki, Gil & Moti saw how government-run slot machines can be found in every supermarket and how the best-loved games portray a folkloric fantasy land. The idyllic Finnish countryside and cheerful farmers and gold diggers from the gambling games are quite a contrast to the stories of the diverse migrants Gil & Moti meet here.

In Rotterdam Gil & Moti found both commercial gambling halls with their seductive aesthetic of gold and glitter, and informal card tables in the back of brown cafes. Here the artists entered into an intimate collaboration with Shari, who came to the Netherlands 24 years ago to retrieve her son but could not afford the return trip. From many encounters, they created a layered image of a life on the fringe of Dutch society, where the sometimes suffocating experience of exclusion and loneliness is interrupted by small moments of happiness in the gambling hall.

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