The Eighth Biennale of Israeli Ceramics

The biennale is the largest and most comprehensive exhibit in its field; it takes place every two years at the museum. It is the chief platform for ceramic work and is extremely important for all lovers of ceramics and crafts in Israel - artists, curators, visitors and all lovers of material culture who regard it as an important milestone and a focal point.

The history of Israeli ceramics is an important stratum in the development of Israeli culture. The characteristics of local clay work distinguishes it from other ceramic traditions - European and Middle-Eastern - and reflects the development of a unique Israeli culture.

Ceramic work, like other crafts, has enjoyed a comeback in recent years. The ceramic wealth, the diversity of techniques, the tactile qualities and the work processes attract a large audience that regards ceramics as a channel for original and fascinating expression.

The objective of the ceramics biennale is to allow Israeli artists to investigate the medium in which they work, and employ the capacities of expression in clay to develop an artistic language that will move, arouse curiosity, and stimulate viewers. Unlike other fields of plastic art, ceramics combines modern art that seeks to challenge ideational articulation and the expression of the human condition, and technical and skilled knowledge. Ceramic artists are not only thinkers who articulate their ideas in clay, but they are also conversant in in-depth technological knowledge that accords their work an extraordinary level of execution - particularly vis-à-vis the poverty of materials dominant in our art. From this aspect, the exhibition offers a challenging artistic alternative for accepted visual expression in Israeli art. Thus, its importance lies not only as a reflection of a specific sphere of art, but also as an encounter with an in-depth cultural discourse which is currently non-existent.

The biennale will examine the unique expressive contribution of ceramics to art and culture, and will seek to present an endless inventory of possibilities of ceramic expression, and all the stages of the life cycle of clay, from wet to fired, and all the ways of producing it from ancient times through contemporary innovations, which will make it possible to presence the ceramic contribution to the contemporary world of art.


Clay as a metaphoric space, the ways of working with it and the diverse materials that participate in the ceramic endeavor constitute an invitation to study all the media that seek to offer new possibilities of expression to the world of art.

The characteristics of ceramic material have value outside the internal discourse of the medium, and carry possibilities for artistic expression which can only be formulated through them.

The value of an exhibition which is defined by its medium does not only relate to what exists but also challenges an in-depth investigation of the materiality of the material - as a moment of endemic qualities that enable us to formulate different facets of the experience of existence which other expressional forms will necessarily articulate in different ways. We usually tend to examine the particularity of ceramic material through the history of the field, and to explain the familiar appearances of clay as the result of cultural contexts which dictated these familiar manifestations. This comprehensive ceramics biennale engenders the formulation of a perspective that reveals the potential of the expression of the human experience, which ceramic material makes precise in an eloquent and sensitive way.


When dealing with clay we should not perceive it by its elemental meaning, but rather expand the medium and study its deep implications - such as the way in which contemporary ceramics refers to ceramic tradition and the world of ceramic artifacts. How ways of functioning and use of tradition are loaded with symbolic values in the contemporary context, as well as how the production procedures and ceramic endeavor inspire a unique articulation of social, political, value-based, and cultural issues. This leads to issues that derive from the medium itself, such as localism and national and ethnic identity, gender questions that relate to the place given to working in clay in different cultures, or questions that deal with the dynamics of expression in the age of late capitalism and the post-human world. These questions invite us to examine the material qualities of ceramics and the ways in which the material knows how to articulate human experience in a unique way.


Curator: Dr. Eran Erlich

Closes:  November 12, 2016