Art lovers

New Gallery Artists’ Stu­dio cel­e­brates Is­raeli print­mak­ing

The Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - • By HA­GAY HA­CO­HEN

The New Gallery Artists’ Stu­dios is lo­cated at gate 22 of Teddy Sta­dium, just a few steps away from the mas­sive sports cen­ter at gate 21. If you didn’t know there was an art gallery at Teddy Sta­dium, you’re not alone. “We al­ways get peo­ple who walk in by ac­ci­dent and ask if they can buy match tick­ets,” says di­rec­tor and head cu­ra­tor Ta­mar Gis­pan-Green­berg. “They of­ten stay just to take a look at the art any­way so maybe it’s a good thing.”

Es­tab­lished by Hedva Shemesh in 1996, when Ehud Olmert served as the mayor of the cap­i­tal, the gallery is cur­rently home to 18 res­i­dent artists who use the stu­dio space they were given to cre­ate art and a 300 square meter ex­hi­bi­tion space.

“We wanted to pro­duce a large art event that will deal with the ori­gin and roles of print­mak­ing in Is­raeli art,” Gis­pan-Green­berg ex­plains.

Prints and print­mak­ing en­com­pass a large field in mod­ern art. Ja­panese prints, brought to West­ern mar­kets af­ter the US Navy Black Ships forced the Ja­panese to be­gin trade with the West in 1853, in­spired artists Claude Monet, Edgar Dega, Camille Pis­sarro and Mary Cas­satt to shape im­pres­sion­ism.

The mass-pro­duced as­pect of silkscreen print­mak­ing ap­pealed to Andy Warhol so much he cre­ated “Camp­bell’s Soup Cans” and the Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe se­ries, works that ce­mented pop cul­ture and be­came Amer­i­can icons. Fran­cisco Dega was a pro­lific print­maker and used print­mak­ing to de­pict bull­fight­ing and cre­ate his posthu­mously pub­lished Dis­as­ters of War. Ja­panese prints also made a last­ing im­pres­sion on Is­raeli art via Ger­man-born Is­raeli wood­cut artist Ja­cob Pins, who col­lected them and in­tro­duced them to gen­er­a­tions of Is­raeli artists.

“Our goal in this ex­hi­bi­tion is not merely to recre­ate an old artis­tic skill,” says head cu­ra­tor of the Jerusalem Print Work­shops Irena Gor­don, “but also to cre­ate some­thing new that pushes the bound­aries of this medium.”

One such work is Balad ais­ti­wayiya Jamila (Ara­bic for “a beau­ti­ful trop­i­cal land”) by Mati Harel. Harel printed on lead. The bulk­i­ness and di­men­sions of the work are in con­trast with the cul­tural quote it re­lates to. In a clever mir­ror act, Harel trans­lated the ti­tle of a fa­mous He­brew pop-song from the 1970’s into Ara­bic. Orig­i­nally a Por­tuguese song Pais Top­i­cal that was trans­lated and adapted for a 1977 al­bum of Brazil­ian pop­u­lar mu­sic for the Is­raeli mar­ket, the song is still very pop­u­lar to­day. The print then is twice charged with mean­ing. The first is an in­tel­lec­tual twist­ing act that charges the work with the cul­tural ten­sion be­tween He­brew and Ara­bic speak­ing com­mu­ni­ties. (Who is the owner of this beau­ti­ful trop­i­cal land?) The sec­ond ten­sion is be­tween the pop-like qual­ity of the vis­ual work and the weight of the lead that al­lows it.

Orit Hof­shi takes cen­ter stage in the ex­hi­bi­tion with her 2018 work Re­al­iza­tion. Hof­shi is highly un­usual in the ded­i­ca­tion she has to­wards print and the large scale of her works. While many artists em­ploy expert print­mak­ers to re­al­ize a project they have in mind, Hof­shi is an expert carver of pine wood and cre­ates her own print­ing blocks by hand, an elab­o­rate pro­ce­dure not of­ten seen to­day. She em­ploys Yizhar Nuiman from the Tot Ni­yar pa­per-mak­ing work­shop in Zichron Yaakov to pro­duce the Kuzo and Abaca pa­pers she prints on. The re­sult is stun­ning, a large shrine-like ob­ject com­posed of the mas­sive wooden print-blocks with one large-scale print in ex­cel­lent sharp qual­ity. One of the cen­ter pieces of the ex­hi­bi­tion, the work brings to mind qual­i­ties of ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment that seems more Ja­panese in spirit then Is­raeli.

“Many peo­ple are un­aware of the fact print­mak­ing is still go­ing on,” ex­plains Gor­don, “and that the va­ri­ety and di­ver­sity it of­fers still at­tracts artists to­day.”

One such artist is Ei­nat Amir, who won the 2018 Alima Award from the Mishkan Museum of Art in Ein Harod. The works for which she was awarded the prize are pre­sented in the ex­hi­bi­tion. They are metic­u­lous, high-de­tail prints that dare to leave the wall and be­come ob­jects and sculp­tures in their own right. Known as “the mother of Is­raeli print­mak­ing,” Alima Rita was vi­tal to the es­tab­lish­ment of print­mak­ing across the coun­try.

An­other ground-break­ing work shown in the gallery is an an­i­mated film cre­ated us­ing screen print­ing. A Love Let­ter to the One I Made Up is a 2017 short film cre­ated by Rachel Gut­garts that uti­lizes red and blue to tell the story of a young wo­man seek­ing her beloved in a city. The short film is in­ge­nious in the usage of wa­ter as a liq­uid that the char­ac­ters can­not con­tain when they drink it, walk through it in the rain, or swim through. The un­usual sound­track com­posed by Aviv Stern makes this brief film a de­light for the ears as well as the eyes.

So if you can, use the new bike paths that lead to Teddy Sta­dium and feast your eyes on the cur­rent art­work be­ing pro­duced with the old, yet al­ways chang­ing, art of print­mak­ing.

“Con­tem­po­rary Lo­cal Print” will be open un­til Oc­to­ber 3.

Dur­ing the hol­i­day of Sukkot the gal­leries will be open dur­ing these hours:

• The New Gallery Artists’ Stu­dios

1 Agu­dat Sport Beitar, Teddy Sta­dium (Gate 22)

Sept 26-27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• The New Gallery of Mus­rra 9 HaAyn Chet St.

Sept 25–27 from 10 a.m to 5 p.m

• Jerusalem Print Work­shop 8 Shivtei Is­rael St.

Sept 26 – 27 be­tween 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

(Ha­gay Ha­co­hen)

‘BALAD AIS­TI­WAYIYA JAMILA’ (Green on Blue) by Mati Harel. Right, ‘Re­al­iza­tion’ by Orit Hof­shi.

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