Material and Immaterial

The Art of Paper in Israel

Paper is everywhere. We use it every day and encounter it more than we can remember – newspapers, journals, and books, prints, posters, photographs, cards, wrapping paper, bills, invoices, cartons, toilet paper, etc. The computer revolution in recent decades promised us a paperless office – but in the last generation the amount of paper used by every office worker has, in fact, tripled. Only recently the NIS 20 note was issued on plastic, and paper made the headlines. The curator of this exhibit, Paul Jackson, explored the country, hunting for unique paper artists in order to set up an exhibition which would represent the current state of affairs of this art in Israel, underscoring the different styles and fundamental nature of this art. Jackson has been a professional paper artist since 1982. His origami sculptures have been exhibited in museums and galleries in Israel and throughout the world.  He has published some 30 books on the paper arts and carried out numerous commercial works. He teaches at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.
“This is the first exhibit in Israel dealing with paper on a national level. Therefore, I thought it wise to present a broad assortment, and indeed I found great diversity between the works of the different artists.
I would like the visitors to this exhibit to enjoy the works; I hope they find them surprising. There is a great deal of paper surrounding us on a daily basis, and in the exhibition we take the quotidian material out of its familiar contexts. When I think about paper I do not print on it or use it to wrap up fish and chips, for me paper can be transformed into something appealing, into art.”
However, paper is not a traditional material in Western art. It is somewhat freakish for an artist to work with paper; it is not considered art or crafts. It is good for printing a newspaper, but for me paper embodies numerous styles and has multiple uses which benefit the artist. For me, the paper artist is an alchemist. Paper is inexpensive, many people treat it as if it was trash, but from the point of view of the artist it is pure gold, the importance lies in what you make out of it. For example, in recycling, paper is extremely important. Paper is material that does not last as an artistic creation, it is not like a stone statue, thus art is similar to the philosophy of the Far East, it depends on the fleeting moment and thus intensifies eternity.”
Israel has many creators and artists, but nevertheless, paper as a material for creation still does not enjoy the status it does in other Western countries. I decided to invite several artists from other countries to exhibit works the kind of which have not been exhibited in Israel. I hope that this decision, which many think controversial, contributed to setting up a more complete exhibition.”

Curator: Paul Jackson
Opens June 25

Closes: October 25, 2008