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Bezalel graduates make a splash in the art world

by Ziva July 14 2008
ArtThings to do
Blue glass installation by Michael Czeigler
Leave it to a bunch of crazy art students to point out how crazy or cool your life could - or should - be. Beneath their whacky dress codes - from ties and fedoras to bunny ears and beehive hairdos, and always the ubiqitious tats - you may never have guessed that some of these Jerusalem-trained artists actually have something interesting or innovative to say. Now on view through July 25th at the prestigious Bezalel Academy of Art and Design are the freshly-honed viewpoints of the 2008 graduating class.
Bezalel Graduate Show
Thursday night's opening event was wall-to-wall with art lovers, supporters, friends and confused folk, including me after seeing one young woman's video installation on "the enslavement of women in the sex trade" (swear to you). It was a triptych-like video set that showed a woman crawling in her wedding dress on her hands and knees after a plate of hummus, that was being pulled in front of her by a string. Oh, and the viewer "forced" the entire sequence by pushing the project with this large gilded knob. Yeah, it was neither new nor necessary.
But there were plenty of reasons why this event is looked at as a formidable turning point for Israel's art scene at large, and Jerusalem's in particular. For example, the Israel Museum's Real Time: Art in Israel exhibition, which focuses on highlights from the last decade in Israeli art, features several well-known Bezalel graduates currently making contemporary art headlines around the world, including Sigalit Landau.
The student exhibition is enormous, sprawling across seven floors, and it encompasses all the departments at Bezalel, including design, art, jewelry and fashion, ceramics and glass, new media, animation, photography and visual communications - which are all sorts of graphic artists (typography, illustration, etc). So to save you some time navigating all the nooks and crannies of the floors - some works are displayed literally in the loft space above the bathrooms - here are some Jerusalemite picks (listed in the same sequence as they appear at right). Keep them on your art radar (or rolodex) too, because we think they may be going places.
  • Yuval Sharon's installation incorporating paintings, drawings, burned car oil and lighting. Created over the span of one and a half years, the works recreate images from google searches and focus on themes of presence/absence, the environment, humans/animals/machines, reality/dream/potential.
  • Angelica Sar's photographs of young children reclining and relaxing about as if they're bourgeosie. Is childhood "the good life"? Or are today's children just incredibly spoiled?
  • Doron Hadar's Eco Tree City, which redesigns the common street lamp as a freestanding tree that's powered by solar panels.
  • Miri Berger's machine-like ceramic plates, which elevate art to machine - or is is the other way around?
But you don't have to take our word for it: Visit the Bezalel show for yourselves and let Jerusalemite know what you liked or even disliked most. The Bezalel Graduates Exhibition, at the academy's Mt. Scopus building, runs through July 25, open from 10:00 to 21:00 on weekdays and Fridays until 15:00. Admission is free.
At top, blue glass either explodes or spills, by Bezalel graduating glass artist Michal Czeigler, photographed by Ziva Haller Rubenstein for Jerusalemite. For more photos of the exhibit, check out Jerusalemite's photostream on flickr.
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