Unlike most books typically described as coffee table books, Varda Yoran’s Autobiography in 3D: 40 years of Sculptures is not a huge tome designed to stay on the coffee table to impress. It is a beautiful, friendly-sized book designed to be picked up and looked at again and again.
I once asked an artist friend, “What is the difference between a painting and a work of art?” He replied that you can look at a work of art many times, and each time you will see something different that you never noticed before. So I have no hesitation in saying that Varda Yoran’s work qualifies as works of art.
I have always preferred abstract sculptures over abstract art.
To my mind, the 3D and solid aspect of sculpture and the fact that it can be viewed from many angles makes the artist’s intent more comprehensible. Of course, photographs can only go so far in depicting the 3D aspect of the works illustrated. And it is helpful to see that some of the works are on display at Tel Aviv University.
Who is the artist Varda Yoran?
Varda Yoran was born in China to Jewish parents who emigrated from Russia. She has spent time in many countries such as Israel and the UK and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. You can find traces of the many different cultures she has absorbed; Chinese and Japanese influences are strong elements of her work.
Her works range from large stone, wood, bronze and clay pieces to more recent small, orange-colored Lucite figures. It is helpful that the larger pieces are usually photographed from two sides, and I would like to see some of these larger works reproduced in miniature for sale to the general public.
The cozy and everyday also make an appearance in the sculpture Puppy Love and Mia, Yoran’s toy poodle made in Origami sheet of lead, among others equally striking. Although on most of the illustrations the sizes are given, I would also like to have seen the dates when these works were produced so that we could see the progression.
The later works are made out of orange-colored, transparent Lucite, and I confess that these are my personal favorites. Many years ago, I worked for Israel Museum Products Ltd. Every day, as I walked by the various offices, I passed a display case with a small figurine in it. I yearned to hold that figurine in my hands, and in vain I tried to persuade my boss to make miniature reproductions of it, which I was sure would sell well in the museum shops.
I have not drooled as much over any other piece until I saw my very personal favorite, the last illustration in the book. It’s titled Karate Black Belt, made in Plexiglas 11” X 5” X 6.5”. This is a piece I would love to own, except I fear it would fall, literally, victim to my cat’s habit of knocking down ornaments, pictures, and anything else if he feels he isn’t getting enough attention.
This is a book with very little text, but as they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it is rich in pictures. So this is a book that will grace my coffee table for a long time to come, and I shall look at it with pleasure and in the anticipation of seeing something new each time. ■
Autobiography in 3D: 40 years of Sculptures, 1981-2021Varda Yoran2022, 100 pagesEmail: Varda Yoran email@example.com