Benyamini tribe / Group Exhibition

Participants: Ra’anan Harlap‏, Sigalit Landau, Khen Shish, Ruth Patir, Yael Frank, Gabi Krichili, Roi Carmeli, Shahar Yahalom, Avraham Kritzman, Elad Rosen, Yaron Attar.

Curator: Dana Gillerman

Opening: Thursday 9/1/20 at 19:30

Closing: Saturday 29/2/20 at 14:00

Gallery Talk: Friday 24/1/20 at 11:30  / Saturday 22/2/20 at 11:30

The idea for the exhibition “Benyamini Tribe” was born from the acknowledgement that in the last decade the use of clay has become common among contemporary artists and exhibitions around the world. Many of the leading artists from Greyson Perry who won the Turner Prize in 2003 for painted ceramic vases to Simone Leigh winner of the Hugo Boss prize who showed black women ceramic sculptures at the Guggenheim recently use clay in very different ways and break away from traditional use.  They do not have a background in traditional pottery but use a language of contemporary art and appropriate various media and materials creating a new language.

The use of ceramics is part of the return to the approach of direct making, the use of “critical craft” (what was considered low art), typical to the last few decades in the art world.  These works deal with identity, history, distant cultures, clay as material as well as the on-going dialogue between functional art and high art.  The use of clay is part of the movement against science, technology and artificial intelligence which are becoming more prevalent in the field of art. 

The work towards this exhibition began by approaching seven Israeli artists who did not typically work in clay. Ruth Patir, Yael Frank, Gabi Krichili, Raanan Harlap, Sigalit Landau, Chen Shish and Roi Carmeli were invited to a “residency” at the Benyamini Center which enabled them to come to the workshop and receive guidance about ceramic processes and firings. It was interesting to witness how this new material for them was used and the transformation it will make in their work. During the summer they came to the studio, worked in clay with the guidance of assistants and became aware of the long work processes necessary when working with clay from the sculpture to the kiln.

The first contact with the clay tweaked the curiosity, raised new thoughts as well as problematic areas and crises.  The understanding that the lengthy process is crucial when working with clay which has its limitations and almost impossible in a short time frame as well as the difficulty of transforming a sketch into an object and the need to work in a studio with a rigid work pattern for artists who are used to being independent in their making.  The work was not simple, and the solutions were varied.

In addition to this group, I invited artists who in the past few years have made works in clay: Shahar Yahalom, Elad Rosen, Asaf Alkalay, Avi Kritzman and Yaron Atar.  Some of the works were exhibited in the past and others were made specifically for the exhibition.

The exhibition will be made of 12 installations that are independent of each other, sampling 12 work processes, marking point in time or perhaps a turning point which will be apparent in the future.

The exhibition “Benyamini Tribe” gathers 12 contemporary artists who will show work made from clay – a material that is not necessarily part of their practice.  Since they are not familiar with traditional use of clay, they used the material in complex, sometimes frustrating, surprising ways giving a fresh view of the material itself in the way they adapted it to their thinking processes and artistic language.

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