The Heart of the Matter

Yaakov Kaufman


When designer Yaakov Kaufman was a young boy he asked his parents to buy him a violin. However, he did not take into account that if they bought him a violin, he would have to learn to play. "That's not what interested me. I wanted the object. But I understood that only later. I wanted to own something beautiful: it was the yearning for something aesthetic that prompted me, not a desire to play the instrument."

Yearning for the aesthetic value of things is a recurrent theme in Kaufman's work. He is one of Israel's longtime and important designers. Born in Poland in 1945 he immigrated to Israel with his family when he was twelve years old. His work, that constantly traverses the seamline between design and art, often seems a philosophical reflection on the design process. The exhibition, The Heart of the Matter, is an example of this type of reflection, the continuation of a study of form and design seen in Kaufman's earlier exhibitions, which dealt, among other things, with rings, stools, figurines, lighting, cats, and more.

Kaufmans' attraction to the iconic image of the human heart began inadvertently, while he was examining lockable structures - a design and technology topic that has preoccupied him for thirty years. After once creating such a lockable structure, Kaufman noticed a similarity to the human heart. This unintentional act, that focused more on the structure and less on its symbolism, turned into an intuitive artwork involving about a hundred hearts that were made of 1.4mm black steel wires, of the kind found in construction sites.

On an overt carefree, and poetic level, Kaufman presents his own interpretation of the heart - one of the more kitschy and hackneyed images - into three-dimensional sketches: a perforated container, a star, a face, a Mickey Mouse cartoon, a pin, a cactus plant, a lightbulb, a cathedral, an owl, an apple, a kite, an elephant, lips, buttocks, a nipple. On a latent level, that deals with the question of when does a certain shape turn into 'heart' one can identify in this exhibit a structural study of assembly and dismantlement. The works involve/ a play between positive elements and negative spaces, between the symmetrical and the asymmetrical, and between different views and perspectives, while the common denominator for all these 'hearts" is the preoccupation with processes and feasibilities, and questions related to when does something begin and when does it end, and how it develops. Just like a love story.


Closes: April 27, 2019