Irit Levin, Curator (Translation: Dorit Kedar)
Drora Spitz’s exhibition Kyoto Poetics at the Tel Aviv Artist’ House is a tribute to some of the Japanese culture aspects, as reflected in Kyoto’s unique gardens and temples.
Her camera, enriched by frequent visits, succeeds to synthesize details within an enlarged context of water sources, stones, plants, and architectural elements, granting a restrained and subtle abundance of form and color, symbolizing the infinite variation of Nature.
Repetitive visits to the gardens, during the different seasons, endow the artist’s eye with a fresh observation, focusing on both blossom and decay. These are integrated together with the celestial phenomena as reflections in the water.
The rock motifs appearing in the works are shown as a multilayered rounded shape granting a sense of vital movement, memories of fossils, and even aquatic animals.
“The design of the garden stones conveys a sense of a living being, some of them are solitary while others create a dialog,” says Drora Spitz.
The artist alternatively decomposes and thickens pigment layers, creating compositions of rich material texture. Sometimes, she even uses object photographs taken in her
house adding them as an additional layer. The resulting collage of patterns and shapes moves from retained minimalism to instinctive pulses.Inspired by Japanese aesthetics, the circle is asymmetric and imperfect, imitating the Yin/Yang cyclicality, bringing forth continuous change.
Drora Spitz met Arie Kutz in the seventies while she headed the Department of Photography, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, and he was completing his degree at the Israel Institute of Technology – Technion. Both share a common view with respect to spatial forms.
Kutz’s installation, as part of the overall exhibition, is an homage to Sptiz and serves as a symbolic bridge between Japan and Israel. The installation is made of crumpled architectural plans, re-arranged, piled, and appearing out of the gravel, emulating a Japanese garden.
Those plans, designed for the construction of the new Bezalel Academy campus project in Jerusalem, refer to a joint collaboration between the Japanese firm SANAA, Tokyo, and Nir Kutz Architects, Tel Aviv.
These are impressions of an enchanted journey to the depth
of Japanese poetics that moved me deeply and broadened
my artistic path.
In Japanese art, I recognize a response to my creative needs, my search for beauty, harmony and a renewing balance, and a kind of sense of nature as a microcosm that hints at the never - ending quality of nature itself. I wandered through the stone and pebble gardens of Kyoto, spent long hours gazing at the stone statutes that stand silently in the area, which “breathe” a breath of life. I was cognizant of the expression of depth and the awareness of the value of simplicity found in minimalist architecture — traditional and modernist alike.
I was swept away by the visibility of the Yin elements: gentleness, calmness, and modesty; the impalpable expression of energetic eagerness, alongside a dialogue between fresh and withered materials that are integrated in a natural manner. All of this seems to be a consequence of an acculturation of observation developed over the years, through persistent maintenance of discipline, skill, and practice that combines between action and spirit.
The gardens on the outskirts of temples and museums are occasionally “borrowed” landscapes: a sea of sand, a boulder mimicking a mountain, a morphology of silent nature. All these form for the eye of the onlooker a tapestry of layers in motion,
a cyclical pattern hidden behind a wall, which comprises
a border between the external and dynamic rhythm of life
and the rhythm of ripples of water that pour and spill out, infused with tranquility.
All these form for the eye of the onlooker a tapestry of layers
in motion, a cyclical pattern hidden behind a wall, which comprises a border between the external and dynamic rhythm
of life and the rhythm of ripples of water that pour and spill out, infused with tranquility.
My work is a process of decomposition and recomposition
of layers. Unexpected textures are created from the placing
of materials on top of one another. I minimize the components and make shapes and colors disappear. This process makes
it tempting to decipher the characteristics, from minimalism through abstraction.
The movement of nature and living things in this series of photographic works removes inanimate objects from their static frozen state and minimizes the gap between what is seen and what is hinted, between the autumn-colored rainy area and the spiritual realm in hues of spring decorated in cherry blossoms.
Prof. Mordechai Omer, who was the Director and Chief Curator
of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, said at the occasion of the launching of my book, “Light, Space, Time”: “We know well that the lens photographs only what it sees, and integrating into what you see the invisible, hidden elements—this is the power of the artist, and this is the power of Drora’s works.”
The exhibition is a tribute of thanks to Japanese creation and to Japanese artists that create on the basis of spiritual directions and groundings.
(Translation: Hephzibah Levine)
"The design of the garden stones conveys a sense of a living being"