The Great Reef by Ayala Landow and Matan Ben-Tolila

Ayala Landow and Matan Ben-Tolila present “The Great Reef”, a collaborative exhibition that is showing through August 2 at Kav 16 – Community Gallery For Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. We are proud to have supported this project through our Small Grants Program. Below, Ayala discusses the creative process that went into their new pieces.
From the start, it was clear to us that “The Great Reef” would not be a shared exhibition of Matan’s works and of mine. We aspired for our collaboration to be a complete blend of both our works.
This process is complex and requires deep thought and high sensitivity. Many questions arose during that process: what is our starting point? How will we combine both sculpture and painting into an installation? What balances must be considered?
We decided that Matan would hand over his paintings to me and I would start working on and with them, using the paintings as sculpturing material. For a whole week I was petrified and unable to bring myself to touch them. The thought of “destroying” and dismantling the paintings Matan worked so hard on and transforming them into a completely new piece simultaneously excited and paralyzed me. Eventually, through Matan’s endless support and encouragement, it happened. A surprising and stimulating concoction was created out of our very different and distinct eye and touch.
I’m happy and grateful for the new challenges and struggles this exhibition has confronted me with. In my opinion, it’s very important for an artist to leave their comfort zone and work closely with someone else on a new, exciting and enriching path.
Curator Karni Brazily, in her curatorial description explains, “the connection between the artists summons a thematic affinity that conjures a charged Israeli space through familiar elements. This exhibition was born out of a symbiotic connection, acting as a natural accumulation and manifested as a habitat for artificial objects. The exhibition can be seen as the environment of a living organism, where familiar symbols and motifs appear removed from their context, like the remains of a world that has sunk.
The Great Reef is a rich and protected world composed of soft sculptures, constructivist objects, and paintings. Like a “nature reserve” of sorts, where is almost no human presence, but rather abstract elements, animals, and hints of an outside world whose vistas are glimpsed through peepholes. The body of work invites the viewer to step into seductive environments imbued with playful humor, but also fragile, delicate, and unstable that can collapse at any moment.”
Kav 16 Opening Hours:
Tues, 10am-2pm
Wed – Thurs, 5pm-8pm

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