MAKOM. Dani Karavan. The Essence of Place

International Cultural Centre Gallery
Kraków
June 27 2015 - September 20  2015

What is harmony? Where does order end and chaos begin? Should nature be tamed or rather cooperated with? Dani Karavan’s work provides an answer to these questions, as well as to many others related to the presence of man in natural environment. His works express the greatness of human mind and the power of human hands (simple, geometric forms astound with their scale), yet they also emphasise that ideal order is inherent to the seemingly chaotic nature.

Concrete, stone, steel, light, water, sand, and vegetation – these are the elements from which Karavan, an Israeli artist known for his site-specific projects, constructs works that are simple in form, yet complex in their message. The whole is made complete through the presence of viewers, attracted to Karavan’s monuments and becoming a part of them through their interaction.

Dani Karavan is an Israeli artist born in Tel Aviv in a family of Galician emigrants, who came to Palestine in the 1920 to join the movement for the creation of the future state of Israel. He received his artistic education, among others, at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, founded in 1906 by Boris Schatz. In the first years of its existence, the school focused predominantly on defining, or rather inventing, national Israeli art, attempting to combine the influences of all cultures represented by the settlers arriving to Palestine. Karavan’s projects often reveal inspiration with local cultures.

Karavan makes his work in reference to particular landscape (urban or natural). His monuments are often quasi-architectonic forms that invite the viewers to move around (or inside) particular elements, provoking them to participate in “creating” the entire structure. The most celebrated of Karavan’s works include:
Negev Monument or Monument to the Negev Brigade in Beersheba is Karavan’s first large-scale work, defined by himself as the idiom of his work. The concrete structure corresponds with the surrounding desert, while the additional effect is provided by wind organs.