Simcha Even-Chen: Balance in Motion / Benyamini Contemporary Ceramics Center, Tel Aviv
May 15 - July 5, 2014
Curated by Tirza Yalon Kolton
A general overview of the exhibition takes us on a stroll through an avenue, with structures on either side. It is a walk between the fine elegance of geometric shapes, and the almost smug solidity and sensuous texture of the surface of the material, scorched by living flames.
In his book, “Species of Spaces and Other Pieces”, Georges Perec describes his journey through space, and the sensations it awakened within him: “Our gaze travels through space and gives us the illusion of relief and distance. That is how we construct a space, with an up and a down, a left and a right, and in front and a behind, a near and a far”.¹
In my meetings with Simcha, in preparation for the exhibition, we frequently discussed the sensations that works of art induce in us: opposites, balances and imbalances, floating… The work of sculpting the massive clay matter sends a message of stability and a sense of floating in space. I am fascinated by the duality of the interaction between softness and harmonious flows, between the ascetic black and precise, repetitive patterns that speak of uncompromising harshness.
In her works, one can trace the evolution of a language that expresses and explores the relationships between “free” three-dimensional space and the open and twisted, two-dimensional, geometric surfaces planted in it, giving it visual meaning without restricting its movement.
Simcha Even-Chen focuses on the balance between motion and stability, and searches for the relationships between mass, volume and balance. She concentrates on simple and harmonious architectural shapes, and uses black and white colors. Borrowed from graphic paper, the grid-like pattern that covers her works offers a precise, scientific result on top of the harmonious, elusive bodies. Her works appear to be floating in midair, lacking any center of mass; while the black color, formed during the firing process using the Naked Raku technique, which allows the artist to control the absorption of the smoke by the surface of the piece, bestows the illusion of gravitational grasp. The geometric coating and the interplay of smoothness and roughness on the surface create a breathtaking tension.
—Tirza Yalon Kolton
¹ Perec, Georges. Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, ed. and trans. by John Sturrock, London: Penguin, 1997 (Page 81.)
Simcha Even-Chen was awarded her PhD degree in 1990, in the field of Biology at Tel-Aviv University. She held a Project Manager Position in a Biotechnology Company till 1993. During the period of 1994-1996 she has taken night courses in ceramic at Rehovot Culture Foundation parallel to my Post Doctoral position at the Medical School Biochemistry Department, the Hebrew University Jerusalem. Most of her ceramic knowledge is from the literature and self-thought.
In 1996 Simcha established her own studio and later on she gained a position of Senior Scientist in the Medical School, which she has held till May 2013. In 2011 she was elected Member of the International Ceramic Academy (IAC).
Since 2000 her works have been exhibited in Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Korea, China, Romania, Italy, Croatia, USA, South Africa, Australia and Israel. She won Awards in Australia, Spain, Korea, Slovenia and China and has works in major museums and private collections in an increasing number of countries.