Progressive art gallery emerges on Jerusalem’s religious art scene
In Jerusalem, Gordon Gallery has transformed a neglected industrial workshop into a hub for innovative Israeli art
The area surrounding Jerusalem’s industrial Sapir Center has long served as a pilgrimage for creatives. Located in the city’s south-west region, it’s home to artist studios, yeshivas (Jewish educational institutions), as well as Bezalel Academy of Art and Design’s ultra-Orthodox branch. Its latest addition is the new outpost of Gordon Gallery, known as one of Tel Aviv’s most distinguished and long-standing art institutions.
‘We are thrilled to usher in the next era of Gordon Gallery and further progress the dialogue between secular Israeli art and the religious connotation of Jerusalem,’ explains Amon Yariv, the gallery’s director, ‘the dichotomy of the new space and solo shows by two innovative painters to attract art seekers to explore Israeli art from a new perspective.’
The space – which will also feature a publicly accessible library and archive – has been inaugurated with two solo exhibitions by Israeli artists Ofer Lellouche and Aviva Uri, on view until 5 February 2022. At the heart of Lellouche’s exhibition, titled ‘Recent works’ is an imposing bronze sculpture, The Hug, whose raw, earthy colours reflect the building’s history. Nine of Lellouche’s reliefs line the walls and offer insight into the conception of the sculpture.
Meanwhile, ‘Death in God’s Realm’ presents iconic works by Israeli artist Aviva Uri, ranging from work created in the 1960s, through to the time of her death in 1984. The works are infused with raw gestures – scenes of both angst and vitality – which continue to influence a generation of Israeli artists.
The industrial space has been given new life by Tel Aviv-based Salty Architects, who have transformed the neglected workshop into a light-drenched space while retaining the rugged, industrial history of the building’s past. ‘The challenge was to set the space apart from its surroundings without being ostentatious,’ say architects Motti Rauchwerger and Hadar Menkes.
‘Inside the gallery, we designed a circular space, and it is important that one can keep moving in the space and be surprised. One of the surprises was the natural light in this industrial area. Once we opened the façade, we realised that wonderful natural light permeates the space.’ §