This summer, Benyamini Contemporary Ceramics Center (Tel Aviv) is presenting works by members of the Benyamini Staff
July 16 – August 26, 2020
Out of Line, curated by Einav Baranes Eliasov
Participants: Simcha Even Chen, Shamai Gibsh, Yael Novak, Eliya Levi Yunger, Ronen Yamin, Einat Cohen, Nitsa Bar, Shay Gerassy and Adi Tal, Rani Gilat, Shira Silverston
The concept “Out of Line” calls upon each of us as individuals or as a society to rethink, to challenge, to rebel, to question and to change leadership, teaching, professional development, and material conception. We are living in a world of accelerated technological advancement and what was impossible becomes applicable just about every day. It is not possible to predict the future since the steps that change our progress are not linear and so it is harder to be prepared and therefore requires flexible thought processes to define the new boundaries.
In addition, the world is more “compact” and there is human interaction that crosses countries and continents making the world a “global village” exposed to different cultures daily. Emigration, traveling, displacement, conflict are now common concepts, but each one is a catalyst to think “out of bounds” while values such as camaraderie, family, solidarity, history, friendship, and alliance receive a new meaning.
The exhibition challenges the makers to dare, to stretch and to break the bounds of the clay, the personal language, technology, concept and to undermine, challenge and examine a new reality. The works show new forms created in the fire or the unconventional combination of ceramic materials as well as personal and collective ideas looking inwards or observing actual reality. Concepts such as fragmented and whole, traditional and contemporary, nature as a metaphor for human characteristics and consumerism are infused with unconventional meaning in the field of ceramics and so they are “Out of Line”.
Tables Turned – Rachel Menashe Dor, curated by Efrat Eyal
Long term knowledge and experience with clay creates a bodily experience that is stamped in the body, in the same way as the body is stamped in the clay
In the group of works shown in the exhibition, Rachel Menashe Dor conveys her deep connection with clay and nature, and the complex beauty of “body wisdom” that is learned and matures with time. The videos that were created especially for the exhibition, focus the observer on the interaction and the mutual influence between the body that creates and the material. Menashe Dor selects intimate situations that are familiar to her from her working process in the studio and disrupts the normal working pattern to rethink the process. Through these metaphorical body actions and the dialog she creates with the clay, she relates her living experience as a woman in the world and expresses different parts of her personality.
In the work “Head Bowl” Rachel uses a traditional African work method to make vessels and turns her head into the mold. Her image is reflected in the mirror as she forms the clay on her head and so the clay takes on the different forms. One can think of these forms as echoing male and female qualities as she experiences them. In “Agna”, the joint video with the movement artist Tal Dayan, the pelvis is the center of bodily gravity and the main spirituality of the woman. It contains memories of the initial experience of life and the connection to it. “Upside Down: is an expression of the effort in juggling daily life and the tension between the material and the spiritual.
The series of works “Self Portrait” made of stalks of oats and formed into vessels by wrapping them around in a “contained complex” expresses the artists feeling of her attempt to grasp all the parts of her living experience. There is no clear boundary between internal and external as it extends and is formed from the bottom up.
In the exhibition the ceramic material is not present and it appears that by changing the medium from clay to video it is an act of distancing, however, it is an act of broadening and extension of the dialog within the ceramic medium and offers a new and fresh view of this ancient field of making.
Just as the potter creates a hole in the center of the hump of clay and gradually expands it into a vessel, so does Menashe Dor expand her personal making practice and invites us to enter and fill the process with personal meaning and connections.
Together Apart – Eti Goren, Raya Stern, curated by Einav Baranes Eliasov
Eti Goren and Raya Stern are two potter that first met in 1985 in Tel Aviv when fixing a gas kiln. From this developed a unique relationship based on a mutual friendship and a deep love of clay and pottery.
Goren makes functional vessels placing emphasis on functionality making the eating and drinking experience a “celebration”. As a philosophy and way of life she makes her own materials giving her independence and an added depth to the unending research of materials. In her words: “materials disclose secrets and surprises”. Growing up next to her home was a stable of donkeys where she played. The image of the donkey has been with her over the years as a first childhood love. Years later she reconnected to the donkey through the paintings of Nahum Gutman and now draws them on her cups where they sit and make each one a unique piece.
Stern regards herself as a functional potter and her tool is the wheel where the rhythm and rotation draw her in. She makes minimalist, clean forms where the surface exposes the movement of her fingers working the pot. She rarely uses tools to intensify the traces of her hands and is concerned with developing the color of her pots inspired by nature and her childhood on Kibbutz Sdot Yam. From her student days in Australia she has specialized in firings with a flame where she is vulnerable to the process, the unique and spontaneous result of each pot, learning from each firing and gaining insight from the colors influenced by the flames on the clay and the dialog between the vessels as they are placed in the kiln.
Stern has specialized in Arab Luster, a technique developed in Egypt in the ninth century. This decorative and firing technique is based on pigments that create great variety in the luster depending on the angle of vision. The beautiful, one-off results are what attract Stern and connect her to a local tradition of the Middle East. The unending improvisation and research of the materials give her a unique language of purpose and serendipity.
The exhibition exposes special relationship between to women, brilliant potters who create and live their life choices one beside the other in a “micro kibbutz” of their own in south Tel Aviv where each has developed a ceramic language of their own. Their relationship that developed over the years led them to purchase a joint property where they established their joint studio and at the same time have maintained their private living space considerate of each other
Benyamini Contemporary Ceramics Center
17 Ha’amal Street
Tel Aviv 66532
All photos by Dor Kedmi