Artist Interview: Liora Kaplan – Rhythms of Permanent Resonance, Or Tension Transformed

February 7, 2022

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CCA Tel Aviv-Yafo, a non-collecting institution fostering practices, discussions and reflections connected to the most relevant issues of our times, is hosting Rhythms of Permanent Resonance, a solo exhibition by Liora Kaplan (born 1974, Herzliya; lives and works in Tel Aviv-Yafo), running until 19 March 2022. Her sculptural work of explores the relationship between contemporary pop culture, shamanism, and primitivism. Through a collection of objects belonging to different cultures and traditions and created in disparate places, the artist ‘mines’ what is symbolic. In other words, her work materialises the possibility of imbuing symbols with personal meaning and underlines the role of time and space as key conditions for such a process to happen. In her solo exhibition at the CCA Tel Aviv-Yafo, Kaplan displays a series of eight totemic sculptures comprised of both 20th Century found objects and original elements, crafted by the artist in collaboration with artisans.


What sort of training have you received and how important do you think it is to seek training (in terms of learning first principles and refining technique)?

I studied Fine Art at the Midrasha School at Beit Berl College in Israel, but never graduated. I dropped out at the end of the third year of school when I felt the studies narrowed down my perspective rather than opening it up to the world. I wanted to discover my own voice and language on my terms, and the journey felt as pivotal as the practice itself. Looking back, I feel my years at Beit Berl College contributed to my critical thinking and gifted me with a perspective bound in the context of art history. I am a great believer in self-taught practices sparked by curiosity. Through the years, I have taken countless technical courses and studied under several artists and artisans to expand my knowledge and studio capabilities.


What is your principal medium, and why did you choose it?

As a child, I constantly dismantled toys and objects and put them back together again. My thinking isn’t linear, but rather spherical. In a way, I believe sculpture was destined to be my medium, but I was holding back for many years, since it intimidated me. Because sculpture requires well-developed technical abilities and deep-rooted knowledge of source materials, I prefer to be known as a multidisciplinary artist so I can remain open, untethered and free. But as with many things in life, the calling was more powerful than my fears and hesitations. The moment I made the commitment, my entire practice advanced by leaps and bounds. My devotion alone made me present and dedicated. It made me a sculptress.


Describe the techniques you use most? How complicated are your methods, and why is each step necessary?

Every body of work has its own needs and challenges. For every new series I make, I learn new forms of media and techniques. In 2019, I started working on a series of totemic sculptures for my exhibition at CCA Tel Aviv-Yafo. The sculptures are based on the combination of appropriated mid-20th Century ceramics with original elements, which are at times crafted by me and at times outsourced to artisans while I oversee the process. For this series, I learned glass blowing, wood carving, wicker weaving, and metal work in order to execute my vision, connect the appropriated objects and turn them into free standing totems. My sculptures are the result of the tension between my hands and the materials, each pulling in their direction. Sculpture is often bound in listening to the wishes of the sourced material rather than forcing preconceived ideas. In that regard, the process itself is echoing the energetic vibration of this conversation. I would say the hardest of all is letting go. It’s a constant journey.


What technological tools do you use in your work?

For my next exhibition at KMAC Museum in Louisville, I am working on larger scale monolithic and monochromatic stone and marble sculptures. In this new body of work, I will be using 3D software to imagine the works. Those will be envisioned in a way that is almost sci-fi, although they’re made by the hands of artisans in a marble quarry. Through this combination, I will be looking at the possibilities of multiple patterns coming from different sources; I will be also investigating how different architectural elements can come together to create novel meaning while rethinking shapes, proportion, architecture, location of patterns and colour combinations – all stemming from a vocabulary I created in in my prior works. The series will be impossible to conceive without the software.


Who is the single other artist whose style you most admire, and why?

I think of Brâncuși as my spiritual father. The simplicity, materiality and proportions of his work are divine and transcendental.


Galleries and other traditional means are only one way of marketing art. What do you believe are the most important other routes, and what is the most important insight you have gained in that area in your career?

I am fortunate to have a gallery that is very proactive and happy to plan and execute marketing strategies. I am active on social media when I have something to say or showcase, but it’s not a focus of mine. I believe it is a great tool to discover and connect others, and I happily utilise it at times. But nothing beats a personal connection.


Why do you create? What are your stated goals in producing art?

I create because I can’t exist otherwise. My practice is a form of expression, communication, and being. It is not only a passion, but also my truth. I try to create works or environments that bring forth landscapes of silence in which my presence isn’t forced and one can meet oneself while presented with the sculpture.

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