DROP DEAD FUNNY - Artist lectures

1. 9. 2019 — 10. 9. 2019

Dům pánů z Kunštátu


Naama Arad, Gili Avissar, Merav Kamel & Halil Balabin, Zohar Gotesman, Yaara Zach


Zohar Gotesman (b. 1979, in Israel) is a sculptor based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Gotesman is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Between 2011-12 he spent a year in Carrara, Italy, where he studied traditional marble carving.
He also graduated from the Archaeology Department of Ben-Gurion University.
Zohar has won the prestigious Outset Israel Art Support Fund. He is the recipient of the Nata Dushnitsky-Kaplan Foundation Prize, the Young Artist Award of the Israeli Ministry of Culture and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation award. He has received support from the Pais Institute.
Zohar had solo exhibitions at Rosenfeld Gallery in Tel Aviv in 2013 and at the Tel Aviv Museum in September 2017. Gotesman exhibits excessively at major group shows in well-known museums and galleries in Israel and abroad, among them at the Petach Tikvah Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum, at the Kade Amersfoort, the Netherlands, the LeRoy Neiman Gallery at Colombia University, New York, the Israeli Center for Digital Art, the Artists House, Tel Aviv, Hezi Cohen Gallery, Tel Aviv, and many more.
He has permanent public sculptures in Jerusalem, Haifa and Modiin, and his sculptures are in private collections in Israel and around the world.


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.


Yaara Zach (b. 1984) lives and works in Tel Aviv. She creates sculpture-based installations. Her objects and object-based installations are made of transformed readymade objects and industrial materials.The human body, which is central to her work, doesn’t appear in the installations in its own right. It is embedded in those ready-mades and materials, and in the gestures taken upon them. The sculptures are charged with meaning in relation to the spectator’s body and movement, while the spectator’s body is becoming part of the installation. They transcend a gender binary, by combining masculine with feminine elements, or denying their very existence.In the last years, Zach’s work has been related to active and passive positions and roles, as well as to notions of ability and disability. Her sculptural environments create arenas of past or foreseen events, while the spectator adopts the role of a witness.

Working predominantly with textiles, Gili Avissar (b. 1982) creates large-scale sculptural assemblages in a constant state of flux, continuously evolving from one work to the next. As scraps of fabric, intricate weaves, ropes and appliqué work from previous pieces are incorporated into new ones, materials unravel and coalesce in new arrangements, entering a unique dialogue with the space. The essential fluidity of Avissar’s work process carries over to the fleeting identities suggested by these arrays of reworked fabric – vacillating between the beastly and humane, male and female, veiled identities and instances of exhibitionism. Evocative of patched-up stage outfits or the worn-out theatrical set of a nomadic troupe, Avissar’s reassembled pieces always retain their performative associations, like dormant stage props waiting to be re-activated. (In some cases, pieces do play a part in videos or live actions that he orchestrates.) Demonstrating his surreal inventiveness and a strong sense for colors, textures and the carnavalesque, Avissar’s fantastic environments nonetheless evoke a charged poetical atmosphere in how they relate to the body – or more specifically to the absence of an extravagant character who would have paraded about, tasked with charming the crowd and entertaining.

Belonging in a larger series titled “Full Frontal,” this body of work by Naama Arad (b. 1985) explores common perceptions of the human body through a series of hybrid structures. Made from day-to-day commodities such as pantyhose, chair seats and electric cables, the disparate parts are combined in a rather a blunt and straightforward fashion, evoking the many restrictions imposed on women’s bodies as well as the constant need to accommodate oneself in search of approval. Recalling a wealth of artistic precedents from Dada on – such as Marcel Duchamp’s oversimplified readymade contraptions or the seated apathetic nudes of Sarah Lucas – Arad’s “female machines” present themselves as ironic stand-ins for an actual female presence, at once submissive, desirable and in a perpetual state of tension. The playfulness of the various juxtapositions distinguishes each of the pieces as its own visual-semantic realm, open to further associations. At the same time, the mechanical aspect brings to mind a dystopian reality of gender relationships – as the one found in Ira Levin’s 1972 satirical novel The Stepford Wives, where it turns out that the women of an idyllic Connecticut suburb were transformed into robots so that they give up any professional ambition they previously had.

Dům pánů z Kunštátu

Dominikánská 9


Exhibition Opening: 10. 9. 2019

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