Last month the And the Winners Are… exhibition opened at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, presenting the winners of the Ministry of Culture and Sports Prizes for 2014. 36 artists and designers from different fields in the industry, household names alongside new and aspiring creators, present their works side by side in an exhibition that encompasses contemporary artwork from various media.
The exhibition curators, Maya Vinitzki, from the Design and Architecture Department at the museum, and Noa Rosenberg from the Israeli Art Department, formed unexpected connections and an intelligent and inspiring dialogue between visual art and the different forms of design. In other words: unlike past prize exhibitions, they didn’t hide the design pieces in a hallway next to the bathroom or in some other hidden corner.
[Dana Hakim. Photo by: Elad Sarig]
The decision to curate the exhibition together was made the moment we knew that it would be presented at the museum. We wanted to step out of the disciplinary divide and connect the two fields together, first of all between the two of us and then also in the exhibition.
There wasn’t any kind of divide between us along the lines of “this is your designer and this is my artist”. We approached all of them simply as creators. We looked at jewelry the same way we looked at sculpting. Like art, it is confined to the rules of the white cube in terms of curating, material, positioning, lighting and such. We didn’t think for a minute that it should receive different treatment than any other piece in the gallery.
While planning the exhibition and thinking about the visitor, we approached the gallery as a space that doesn’t have a beginning or an end. Which means there is no entrance that outlines a path for the visitor. The fact that the exhibit consisted of 36 creators that were chosen by different committees, each of which presents a few pieces, did not allow advancement between one space to another, or the formation of some kind of developing narrative.
Therefore the two entrances, or exits, depending on the visitor’s choice, allow him to have a different experience each time he sees the exhibition, the different floors and parts of the artwork. In addition, we took advantage of the multiple floors and the staircase in the gallery. A few of the pieces were hung high on the walls in a way which made it possible for them to been seen from several perspectives (near, far, below and straightforward).
How did you choose the pieces?
According to the usual criteria. We didn’t want to create a blend out of what the public would like, or what the world of art would like. We chose the the works based on what we and the creators thought would be best to represent and characterize them. Which meant that if someone had four pieces, through the hanging process we could find places for them with regard to the works of the other participants.
Once you approach all of the artwork by the same criteria – like material, technology, and concept – you understand that the discipline itself doesn’t have the option to cancel or strengthen the decision to present at the museum. When you cancel the discipline and put an emphasis on the content and the essence, while making connections and associations between the pieces, you suddenly acquire new answers to the question of connection between design and art.
The exhibition is also a great opportunity, for creators and for the general public, to come see an array of works that usually won’t be presented next to each other. It’s an opportunity to see a little bit of everything that’s happening today.
[Dana Hakim (left) and Moshe Roas. Photo by: Elad Sarig]
[Moshe Roas. Photo by: Elad Sarig]
What can we learn from the exhibition about contemporary local scene?
You have to be careful not to extract simplistic conclusions, it’s too risky.
Especially because you aren’t the one to choose the artists… We could say that we were very surprised by the variety of media, sculpting being very noticeable, and that everything together formed a surprising diversity. I hope that in the future we will be able to establish a more natural connection and flow between the fields. These connections are familiar to us from other places in the world, but somehow here (In Israel) they are still a bit restrained.
Another version of this post was originally published in Hebrew on http://byfar.co.il and translated by Yuval Regev.
[Eyal Asulin. Photo by: Elad Sarig]
[Tuli Bauman. Photo by: Elad Sarig]
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