Art Exhibit: Not so paper thin

Paper and stone unite in Paperworks at Jerusalem's Ticho House

paper art 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
paper art 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Paperworks exhibition approaches art without colorful paints, sculpted clay or textured brushstrokes. One placard reads, "Installation: paper, glue, netting." Another cites materials such as paper, 25-inch monitor, adhesive and sandbags. Ranging from meticulously carved paper lace in frames to a heap of paper pinecones on the floor and paper bees and ash filing a windowsill, the Ticho House is infused with paper. Ronit Sorek, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Israel Museum and curator of Paperworks says, "I wanted to show the sensitivity of paper, how it is weak and strong at the same time, and how one can do so many things with it." Not on display in the typical white, angular exhibition space, the paper becomes part of the Ticho House. With installations dotting the staircase, study and side rooms, it extends well beyond framed art at eye level. Regarding its location, Sorek says that her goal was to create a dialogue between the young artists that contributed to Paperworks and the Ticho House itself. Tucked behind a massive construction site on Jerusalem's Harav Kook Street is the historic home of the late artist Anna Ticho and her ophthalmologist husband, Dr. Albert Ticho. Anna only worked with paper. As such, between her countless pieces and her husband's records and immense library their stately stone house was a proverbial house of paper. It is due to this legacy that Paperworks, as well as other contemporary exhibitions, fit into this environment. "This is a very noisy exhibition," Sorek notes, not referring to the construction next door. In fact, the exhibit includes three sound installations aimed to further infuse paper into the air. The main floor, which houses the first installation, gives sound to a sheet of crisp, new paper that's subsequently crumpled and discarded. Since the sound is in a loop, the order of the two events can go in either order. A more traditional space: rectangular, with soft, dimmed lighting and works spanning the walls, resting on the floor and confronting the viewer from floor to ceiling, is where one finds Efrat Klipshtein's massive installation, Secrets. Physically stopping the visitor in his or her path, it forces consideration with its protruding, tentacle-like legs that stretch from ceiling to floor. Just a few feet away is Shaul Tzemach's Double Wheel Fugue, which presents paper as an intricate, delicate design, full of detail and hung on the wall in a traditional manner. Sorek wanted to show the diversity and complexity of paper through the young artists, evident from the varying scales and approaches represented in the first floor gallery space. "Conceptual artists do not need to investigate paper," Sorek adds. "Rather, they treat paper as a material just as they treat clay or metal. They use it naturally." Continuing upstairs, the lines blur between Paperworks and the Ticho House itself. Still emphasizing the shift in the role of paper, here it is transformed from a flat surface on which to apply art to the creative matter itself. It is here where the visitor experiences the unexpected volume of paper in every niche and area of the rooms. An arresting cascade of pages in Dr. Ticho's study flows out from his bookshelves, over his historical desk and onto the ground. Although other pieces in the exhibit flirt with the Ticho House and its heritage, it is in this installation, which necessitated collaboration between the artist and curators, that the exhibit and the house truly merge. Faced with the challenge of giving flat pieces of paper overwhelming volume, the artists involved in Paperworks have successfully suffused the Ticho House with a new and fresh approach to paper, nicely harmonizing this everyday material with the house's heritage. Paperworks is on display at the Ticho House (9 Harav Kook St., (02) 624-5068) through June 5. For more information visit