Merav Kamel (born in 1988, Israel) and Halil Balabin (born in 1987, Israel) are an artist duo based in Tel-Aviv, working together since 2012.
Both of them received their BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design Jerusalem (Kamel in 2012, Balabin on 2014).
Their work with fabric brings out an associative way of thought — the attachment of different organs born out of amputations, hybridizations and compositions that create a new object. They are mutations of lust and fantasy with a humorous tone, which together produce an array of familiar images: cartoons, surrealism, poeticism, a mélange of the high and low, art history, and the conflicted and bizarre space of Israel.
They are material embodiments of little jokes, witticisms, wordplay, and twisted historical quotes, charmed by the bland and prosaic, unfunny jokes, vulgarities, and social and political criticism. They involve bold images with a hidden sting, and this is also how they act on the viewer: sweetly seductive, and then painful and thought-provoking, as the story of each sculpture is exposed. The sculptures are hand-sewn, with great attention to detail. These works echo folkloric traditions in Israeli art, and add new layers to them.
The artists’ joint work wipes out the masculine-feminine dichotomy of their works, and allows a fluid gender identity. An ever-changing, androgynous being is formed, with the ability to play more than one character.