850 Shades of Greyby Yuval Saar | 04.10.15
Only at a very advanced stage of our ongoing conversation did I ask Vered Kaminski – one of Israel’s pioneer and senior goldsmiths – how many works are showcased in her solo exhibition, presented these days in the Tel Aviv Museum.
And only when she answered “850”, did I begin to grasp an essential truth about Kaminski’s exhibition and works: the sisyphean efforts invested in it, the research, the creativity and the thought process of Maya Vinitsky – the exhibition’s curator.
One intricate work is followed by another, which is followed by yet another; they are not there for show off, not there for mere appearances and do not scream for attention.
The works have been crafted for the sake of creation and stand on their own as profound research, a way of life, an intellectual, philosophical and lyrical design process all wrapped into one (although I am not sure that Kaminski would agree with me about the works’ lyrical nature). The result is one of the most beautiful and inspiring gold-crafting exhibitions to have been featured in Israel in recent years.
Last year it was announced that Kaminski won the Andy Award, one of the most important awards in Israel in the field of the arts and crafts. Winning enabled her to execute a long-standing process which enfolds works from all years of her craft.
In the exhibition, these are all presented alongside new projects from the past year and are divided into groups or series. Both the installation of the works and their setting in the physical space of the gallery allow visitors to discover the various and different contexts of Kaminski’s work.
“To me, all colors are beautiful”
“In reality, things didn’t happen in a linear, chronological process,” she states. “Throughout the years I have worked simultaneously on several groups of projects, and on some I started working, then stopped and picked up from where I’ve left much later. I hope that visitors to the exhibition who look at the works will see that one thing leads to another because that’s the character of my work.
“While working on the exhibition I realized that the works are not visually impressive, that somehow everything looks a little bleak, greyish, not shiny, that you can look at all the works and just move on. You can be impressed if you see one work because there are a lot of intricate details or special stones, but nothing there is shiny or glamorous. Not that I used to think that the works are shiny, but even putting them together in masses doesn’t create that effect. In a way, there is also no ornamental element to the works, even though everything is ornamentation.”
I understand that although the exhibition boasts a whopping 850 works, you could have simultaneously put up at least another four exhibitions.
Maya (Vinitsky, the curator) saw things in my works that I could never recognize: colorfulness, or order versus chaos. Things that I’m not even aware of. This material is placed next to the other, this theme continues onto that work and so on. And I just went along with it, because I know that people will eventually see my works the way she does, and not like I do. It happens to me a lot that people come to my studio and refer to things I have never notice. They try something on and say: ‘This suits me’, ‘this looks good on me’. I don’t understand what it means when a certain color ‘suits’ someone. To me, all colors are beautiful.
But there are certain aesthetic norms.
I make a conscious effort not to agree with that… there are also norms that determine what jewelry should look like, but I really try not to go into it.
// Translation from hebrew by Joy Bernard