Type of a Dialogue – Hanna Charag-Zuntz, Michal Alon

Small Gallery

Artists: Hanna Charag-Zuntz, Michal Alon

Curator: Einav Baranes Eliasov

Opening: Friday 12/7/2019 at 11:00

Gallery talk: Friday 2/8/2019 at  11:00

Closing: Saturday , 14/9/2019 at 14:00

The exhibition “Type of a Dialogue” is the third in a series of exhibitions dealing with inter-generational dialogue between makers that occurs in various ways.

Hanna CHarag – Zuntz was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1915, completed her education in music and art in 1940 and emigrated to Israel. She is counted as one of the 3 mothers of Israeli ceramics and has educated generations of makers to be professionally committed, search for local materials and precise forms. Some of her most prominent students are Rina Peleg, Mira Sadot, Yael Atzmony. CHarag – Zuntz taught for many years at the Oranim College and the Industrial Design department of the Technion and Haifa University. 

“From the beginning of her ceramic making, Hanna CHarag – Zuntz looked for glazes that would blend with the natural color of clay, rebelling against the anti-glaze command of Grosman. At the same time, she fulfilled her personal tendency for simple shapes that grow from the wheel, minimalist, quiet, with no drama and deformation.  And so, her ceramic language is peaceful and spiritual, reserved glazes, delicate decoration, with only a hint of archaism. Throughout her journey she remained loyal to making pots that were perfect, delicate and light.”1.

In her ceramics she is determined to express the place she lives in. Mediterranean beauty and tradition are the basis to her concept of color, aesthetic and local clay.  She travelled the country collecting raw materials and geologists that knew her would send her clay samples for her to test in the studio.

Archaeological artefacts from Nabatean and Greek periods exposed Charag-Zuntz to terra-sigillata, a satin surface of fine clay particles that are unglazed. Terra-sigillata was considered an enigma and Charag-Zuntz tried to analyze its magic. Her material research and findings were of great interest in Israel and abroad. 

 In her work process she would draw on an envelope or cigarette box a sketch of a pot with comments on the plans for the work. CHarag-Zuntz developed her works into a language, the forms influenced by European modernism, purposely avoiding decoration, using an organic line with terra sigillata or glaze. 

Michal Alon was exposed to the world of ceramics as the daughter of CHarag-Zuntz but did not consider studying ceramics and in 1975 she graduated from the Environmental and Industrial Design department of Bezalel after which she decided she did not want to be a designer. At the time she was confused but went to help her injured mother to prepare for an exhibition in Hamburg and continued to work in the studio for another 4 years learning ceramics, making endless cylinders that were cut and examined to be well made.  As a teacher CHarag -Zuntz was a strict perfectionist but as a mother she was warm and loving, says Alon. 

Over the years, Alon developed her style and language, a complicated process being the daughter and student of CHarag-Zuntz. In the beginning she was influenced by her mother and her inspiration was archaeology. In 1986 she did a workshop with Colin Pearson at the Haifa University and this professional meeting had a profound influence on her, after which she embarked on a creative journey crystallizing her unique language.  Alon extends the surface of the object as if it holds many layers and views the bowl or vessel as the basis for her making, with a wide range of clay details that hint at imminent break or collapse.   

The exhibition, Type of a Dialogue shows the intergenerational dialogue between mother and daughter through clay, each one bearing a personal material statement that expresses a life story, emigration, locality and belonging. Since the death of Charag Zuntz, Michal Alon continue to tell the story of her mother and to document her works.  Alon continues to create, teaching and showing her work in Israel and abroad.

  1. The beginning of Israeli ceramics 1932- 1962, the warehouse of Gideon Ofrat, text archives


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