Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem graduates challenge relationship between function and theme
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel August 2010: An exhibition in Tel Aviv initiated and organized by the MDes (Masters of Design) program at The Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, will highlight a concept called “Autobiodesign”, which pushes the boundaries of design thinking and practice and challenges the relationship between function and theme, in this case the theme of personal history. The exhibition reinforces Bezalel’s position amongst the world’s most prestigious academies of its kind by exposing some of its finest design talent and by demonstrating this cutting-edge concept to the design world.
Eight of the leading Masters of Design graduates from the Bezalel Academy have been specially chosen to show their work at the exhibition, which opens at 12:00 on 3 September and runs until 25 September. The exhibition is being held at the Bezalel Gallery, Salame St # 60, Tel Aviv.
The theme of the exhibition is called “Autobiodesign” by its curator, Professor Ezri Tarazi of the Bezalel Academy. This concept derives from the urge to create design not from the perspective of an external problem, but rather as a reflection of the designer’s personal life. Several years ago, Professor Tarazi proposed this name for one of his courses. Today it occupies a large proportion of the output of the M.Des. ‘About Design’ program at Bezalel.
The exhibitors’ work covers a wide range of media and uses a wide rage of materials, such as Etung blocks, (lightweight, absorbent cast stone construction material) to ceramics and plastics. The versatile use of materials in their work is inspired by themes of memory and personal stories.
Professor Tarazi explains that the concept of Autobiodesign complements and extends existing design thinking and practice. In addition to considerations about technique or skill, and considerations about design thinking and methodologies, Autobiodesign adds an extra element to new work – how personal experience and perception informs the thinking and the technique and in some cases, how it challenges the function of the work produced.
Professor Tarazi says: “This does not involve broader or further knowledge, but moving deeper into one’s self. It does not replace any of the first two; Rather, it provides a bird’s-eye perspective on the reasons for creating (the WHY), rather than the WHAT to create.”
He continues: “More and more, through the process which takes place in the studio classes, we witness the students using their personal life as a medium to experiment with. The final projects are increasingly what I call Autobiodesign. Just like autobiographies which never tell objective history, Autobiodesign is subjective; it is not obliged to fulfill the needs of the outer world. It calls for greater involvement of one’s personal life and meaningful parts thereof in the process. It can be memories, family stories, personal trauma, burdens, or real-time events. These events can walk side by side with the design process, but can also influence life retrospectively. Insights and reflections that come out of the process will retrospectively change the designer’s perspectives and perceptions on life, perhaps even forever. Therefore, it is a kind of experiment which requires deeper involvement on behalf of the designer and stronger commitment to the process, including the willin gness to take the process’ inherent risks.”
This year’s exhibition marks the fifth anniversary of the MDes program at Bezalel, which has produced some of the leading exponents of design in the world. The exhibition is used as a showcase and a springboard for Bezalel’s best design talent to build their careers, and previous years’ exhibitors now hold senior positions in academia, research, publishing and the development of design concepts. It is hoped that this years’ exhibitors will go on to enjoy similar success.
For further information about the exhibits, the artists, for a complete exhibition catalogue, or for further information about Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, please contact: Adam Murray at Koteret Group, Tel Aviv on 00972 542 152 654 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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About Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem
Bezalel is Israel’s leading academy of art and design, and one of the most prestigious of its kind in the world. Established in 1906, with the support of the founder of Modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, Bezalel is the source of some of the most creative talent emerging from the Middle-East. Bezalel has built an international network of art and design excellence. Its alumni exhibit their work in the world’s leading venues, and the Academy is a focus and a destination for students and the creative community from across the globe.
Bezalel has a broad and multifaceted scope of professional and artistic activities involving both pioneering state-of-the-art design methods as well as ancient techniques. The academy offers workshops unparalleled anywhere else in Israel in a variety of fields that have seen many changes in the past decades: industrial design, architecture, animation & video art, visual communications, fine art, photography fashion & jewelry, history & theory and ceramics & glass.
Both the faculty and the student body are driven by a passion to create and by their meticulous attention to quality and excellence. These two cornerstones, plus the Academy’s commitment to fostering creativity and opportunity amongst all communities in Israel, have positioned Bezalel at the center of Israel’s creative and artistic scene, making it instrumental in shaping and enriching the country’s cultural identity. www.bezalel.ac.il
About the exhibitors
Amit Farber’s work deals with food design and seeks to infuse a fresh interaction with food. Previously a food stylist, Amit seeks to examine aspects of the eating ritual that transcend nourishment and have resonance in terms of meaning, sensation or memory. His work, which manipulates the aesthetic of food, is inspired by the memories and stories of his grandmother’s home.
Etamar Beglikter exploits the contradictions between his use of absorbent cast stone and non-absorbent tar, and he is inspired by the story of his grandfather, a water engineer who came to Israel in 1948, having been the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust, only to be murdered by Fedayeen terrorists while at work in 1955. Etamar’s work juxtaposes water, absorbed into his materials and which quenches thirst, with his grandfather’s loss of life; his being a new, energetic immigrant, as compared to his being a Holocaust survivor from Eastern Europe. This contradiction is allied to a private memoir of Etamar’s to become what he considers to be a kind of dialogue with collective memory of Israel, a dialogue between life (water and absorbent material) and death or memory (the Holocaust and the non-absorbent materials).
Merav Rahat draws on her experience of losing her husband in the first Lebanon war to examine the idea of absence, using two basic concepts: the empty chair and shadows created with angular extensions to the chairs. She translates the emptiness between chairs and its shadows into real three-dimensional shapes that freeze moments in time.
Ronit Landsman has developed a computer-based application called “The Pregnancy Emotional Barometer” to map subjective emotions and couples this with work using other media. Her project was inspired by her interest in evaluating the emotional surge and other changes that took place during her first pregnancy. In addition to creating a computer program to map her emotions and the unique states experienced in pregnancy, she maps her interrupted sleep patterns following the birth of her son, comparing them to those of her husband, reproducing them diagrammatically and, ironically as a bed blanket..
Tzur Barak was inspired by the idea of fields as spaces of escape for his mother and grandmother on kibbutz to create plaster walls with spaces in them for other items formed from optical tools to create an environment for expressing repressed wishes and fantasies in the unconscious. His project highlights the tension between the defined, closed, finite spaces of the walls with the openness and undefined nature of the other materials that can be seen through these walls.
Similarly, Tatyana Gorodestsky uses family history to explore the idea of memory. Now living in Israel for two years, having moved first with her family from Russia to New York, Tatyana is influenced by stories and anecdotes in her grandmother’s memoirs, which she embeds into everyday objects such as a stool or a flour sifter. Her work considers how inherited household objects connect us strongly to events, people and experiences of the past, and it questions what happens when these objects are not available. Her family has no such mementos due to the turbulent events surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union. They were forced to move a number of times and leave behind most of their possessions. Her family memories have been preserved mostly through the recounting of stories. The objects she creates are an attempt to devise another means of preserving and transmitting these memories that were only in written form.
Nitsan Debbi’s project examines the idea of sustainable product design system by studying the connection between natural growth and industrial production in an attempt to cross-breed the two. Working with the Weizmann Institute she tested the validity of her ideas to develop a ‘system design’, or platform on which alternative consumer and production systems can be based. This gives rise to a set of unusual products that can be grown rather than produced, replacing factory production with sprouting. Some of her work on display includes a plant that can be grown to be used as a toothbrush, a collection of beet vegetables specially grown to be used as colored pens and a toothpick tree. Her system of product design is intended to raise questions about the changes taking place in our lifestyles and to examine the tensions and harmonies between technology and natural products.
Yael Friedman uses 3D printing, in particular with jewelry made of plastics, which recalls the possibility of domestic printing of products, to address an issue of current interest in the design sector. The work that she creates can be manipulated and customized by playing with the component elements of each piece. Her idea is to present pieces of jewelry as a puzzle in order to allow people to play with forms in a childlike way, rather than to accept pre-defined norms which block creativity and suppress daring.