I just returned from the media preview for From the Melting Pot into the Fire at the Gardiner Museum and it is -- in a word -- extraordinary.
The exhibition of conceptual work by Israeli ceramic artists that explores the issues of land, identity and home in contemporary Israel. The exhibition does not endorse any single political, social or artistic point of view. Instead, visitors are encouraged to reflect on the work and form their own opinions about the issues it raises. Notably, the labels that accompany each work, usually written by an exhibition curator, were written by the artist and provide an intensely personal response to the complex issues addressed.
The intimate and personal nature of this exhibition provides visitors with an individual rather than a political perspective of the issues that have and continue to shape life in contemporary Israel.
From the Melting Pot into the Fire has its origins in the Fourth Biennale for Israeli Ceramics that was organized by the Ceramic Artists Association of Israel (CAAI) and hosted by the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv in 2007. (The CAAI is a non-governmental, non-profit professional organization that supports ceramic artists in Israel.)
Yael Novak from the Ceramics Artists Association of Israel acted as that group’s curatorial liaison to the Gardiner Museum, and was on hand this morning. She recounted beautiful, intimate and sometimes sad stories about the pieces. Here is her piece below.
She has created the Israeli landscape with her pottery, using negative space as well.
I was also drawn to Avner Singer and Varda Bar Shamai's The Building Blocks of Memory / Monument for the Hebrew Language. There are 30 cubes: 27x27x27 cm each. I wasn't aware that the Hebrew language wasn't a spoken language until relatively recently -- about 200 years.
I found the whole experience moving. Perhaps it was because of Yael's personal tour... Regardless, From the Melting Pot will surely encourage discussion and maybe get you to think of ceramics a bit differently.