India International Centre
Embassy of Israel in India
Givat Haviva, Israel and The GH Art Center, Israel
An online exhibition by Dani Karavan and Atar Geva from Israel
Curators: Anat Lidror and Noa Karavan
The online exhibition is on view from 13th to 26th July 2020
The online exhibition brings together the work of two leading contemporary artists from Israel, Dani Karavan and Atar Geva who meet at Givat Haviva, in its home for art, the GH Art Gallery. Growing into and out of the place, they engage with the space, with each other, and negotiate the idea of simplicity, the abstract, real, alive and mundane. Creative materials such as sand, the olive tree and citrus trees are Karavan’s art materials, a continuous and endless work of art. Geva’s spilled paint, spreading at will and becoming liquid or solidifying, and the sculptural combustion process, with their distinctive aroma, is both part of the processes as well as a co-creators of the works. The exhibition also questions the idea of the kibbutz, to which Karavan was a member and Geva was born into.
About the artists
Dani Karavan, 89, international sculptor, creator and artist, has to date created over 70 projects in Israel and around the world. All of them have been site specific masterpieces such as the Negev Monument, Kikar Levana (White Square) and Square of Culture (Habima Square). At a comprehensive seminar centred on his work, one of the speakers, Michal Rovner (artist), said: "When I asked Dani how he defined himself, he replied: I once called myself a painter, then a sculptor; I was called a decorator, then I was called a set designer. Today I call myself a sculptor, a creator. I open new windows, start from nothing, start from scratch. "
Atar Geva, 45, still has a long road ahead, but if one looks for a definition for what he does, one realizes that these words are not too big for him. He creates (sometimes with partners) art in the sphere between painting and sculpture; orchestrates live events which are large, breathing art works that combine many artists and their work and the public that participates and shares the experience. Such as Under the Streetlamp (a two-night arts festival in Givat Haviva); and Artaftefet (a happening combining art, science and education). In all those spheres, Geva is clearly thrilled with the uncontrollable space, the composition created by the material – which can be industrial paint, a burning process that sculpts newspapers, or artists and art, community and experience, all in one space.
Geva grew up (in Kibbutz Ein Shemer; his father Avital Geva is a conceptual artist working on the line between art, agriculture and education) in the lap of art, of conceptual thought, of agriculture, kibbutz and Hashomer Hatzair movement (the initial Zionist youth movement, founded in Eastern Europe on the eve of the First World War), as well as in the experience of exploration and experimentation. He developed them into research on the essence of matter in its broader sense, on the connection between disciplines, art and people.
Dani Karavan also grew up (in Tel Aviv of yesteryear) in a very similar environment. His parents, members of Hashomer Hatzair, made aliyah ("making aliyah" by moving to the Land of Israel is one of the most basic tenets of Zionism) as young people to Bitaniya city. His father was the first landscape architect of Tel Aviv from the 1940s through the 1960s. Karavan was a member of the movement in his youth. He was one of the founders of Kibbutz Harel, which later broke up following an ideological dispute. His first creations were illustrations for Hashomer Hatzair publications and the children's weekly, Davar Liyeladim.
Karavan is therefore, fundamentally, a member of Hashomer Hatzair, this is where he comes from and this is the source of his deep belief that art should be the property of the general public rather than of select individuals. In the 1950s, Karavan studied fresco technique at Florence where he was learnt the importance of place, and of art being place-dependent. He has thus evolved over the years to become a broad-minded artist who deals with the essence of a place, the simplest way of saying that which sustains a living place, where people are the ones who create it as such.
For both of them, the road may be long and unknown, but the work of art, one way or the other, will eventually have to reach its true, simple existence.