Art above all

Itamar Gilboa creates works on life and death.

May 27, 2010 12:37
2 minute read.
Freshpaint Wall installation

art installation - wall with bed 311. (photo credit: courtesy)


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A broken dream, violence and the search for ‘self’ laid the basis for a new art exhibition which has just finished running at the Dresdner Gallery in Jaffa. The Chief of Stuff invites one and all to witness the self-exploration of the artist as his dream of becoming an Israeli Defence Forces Sergeant ends in failure, to his dismay but the Israeli art scene’s delight.

Itamar Gilboa, in his first Israeli exhibition and the ‘Chief’ of the title, discusses the vast feelings of a man exploring the dislocation of identity, simultaneously portraying the simplicity of emotions within the ambivalence of life itself. “I am the starting point” says Gilboa, referring to his video art in particular, where he performs actions on screen, dressed in Sergeant uniform.

His art focuses on violent and masculine Samurai warriors, depicted in subdued colours, which he believes serves as an appropriate metaphor for his own mysterious journey into self-discovery. “It is searching your mind and turning it into a reality”. He told The Jerusalem Post that the show was a “very successful portrayal of his work,” with most of the pieces displayed being sold.

Despite the authenticity of his work, Gilboa only commenced his study of art as recently as nine years ago, when he moved to the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, leaving behind a successful career in Hi-Tech Telecommunications. However, after the death of his father, he decided to turn his focus to the sense of dislocated identity he felt as an Israeli living in Holland, and the feeling of conflict in either continuing his study of art in Holland, or “facing his demons” in Israel. He co-authored a fiction book with his mother, which strengthened their relationship following his father’s death and which also, he believes, strengthened his belief in himself and his art.

Gilboa’s art is full of variety, reflecting his own feeling of his absorption with life, death and identity.  He seeks to discover the minority of lost people who do not always settle so easily, having to progressively settle physically and emotionally over time. His use of a diverse set of materials, such as wall installations, oil on canvas, mixed media and interior design provide the audience with appoint of comprehension for his art – it is by giving his audience numerous options to enjoy his art that he believes makes his message so readily available.

However, it is not only his innate artistic talent, but additionally his business acumen which gives his the edge in the cut-throat art world. “For every ninety-nine that says no to me, there will always be one who says yes.”

Still regarded as a young and highly ambitious artist, he says that it is his own lost dream of an Army life which inspires him to explore his complex visions of an Israeli expat living in Europe.

It is this delicate balance which makes his art so versatile and vulnerable. A confused man, searching for himself, for meaning, for answers, makes this a universal subject matter for all – in any one piece alone, there are a multitude of emotions present, ranging from rage to humour. But it is through this strong, constructed, sense of identity that has made this artist the true “Chief of his Stuff.”

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