Thursday, December 16, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Dafna Kaffeman

This post is part of a series spotlighting the range of artists and musicians involved in Floating World Projects. See all.

"But I have come to detest life" (Embroidery by Yoav Weinberg), 2010

Coming up in January, several members of Floating World Projects will travel to the West Bank to make a documentary focusing on the Al-Salam glass factory in Hebron. Before going into Palestine, they'll stay with artist Dafna Kaffeman, a lecturer and coordinator of Glass Studies at Bezalel University in Jerusalem. She studied glass art in Amsterdam and lampworking in Venice, often combining different materials with the glass medium and creating a more tactile effect.

Her works are incredibly close and detailed, taking advantage of the fragile nature of glass as a medium and working in assemblages of small pieces. Many of them take organic, seemingly soft shapes formed by hundreds of tiny hard parts.

"Tactual Stimulation", 2007

"Animality", 2004
Her 2006 exhibition Persian Cyclamen features a range of handkerchiefs embroidered with phrases in Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic and abstract geographic outlines. Intricately-crafted glass plant forms rest upon them, symbolizing larger concepts of life and placing the pieces in context of the Isreali-Palestine conflict. They were displayed lying down on low pedestals, creating a more intimate viewing.

"Fence line in Red, Pinus halepensis", 2006

"Arabic is not spoken here. From the article by Jack Huri and David Renter, Haaretz, March 13, 2006. Sea Squill", 2006

"Persian Cyclamen", Lorch-Seidel Galeri, Berlin, Germany, 2006

Her most recent series Mantis Relgiose takes a similar approach, incorporating texts from Israeli newspapers and letters this time embroidered by Norwegian woman and Israeli men. The former didn't understand Arabic or Hebrew, and so their embellishments are purely aesthetic, while the latter added accents as commentary. Dafna complements the handkerchiefs with glass plants and insects.

"And my family planned to ask for her hand" (Embroidery by Yair Shif), 2010

"One day before I set out for the operation" (Embroidery by Michael Golan), 2010

Some of her work is currently on view at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in the exhibition Studio Glass.

Dafna's official site
Profile at WheatonArts

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