During the Tel Aviv Paper Biennale, I fell in love with “Coat of the Agunah”, an amazing work of art by artist Andi Arnovitz. It was therefore unavoidable that this blog post highlight her and her work!
Andi Arnovitz is an outstanding artist who works with ceramics, etching, silk, cotton, polyester, printed fabric, paper, wood and even fimo. Although her artworks and installations in these various art forms are intriguing and powerful, naturally I will focus on her paper artworks, as paper is my thing!
This Jerusalem based artist grew up in the surroundings of Kansas City, where her family owned a fabric store that inflamed her fascination for texture and fabrics. After graduating with a major in Graphic Design and working as a printmaker, her love for paper started for the simple reason that paper can be manipulated in so many ways: one can fold, roll, cut, sew, shred, draw and write on it.
Andi Arnovitz’s paper artworks demonstrate her exceptional talent to visually and intellectually move her audience. For her, art is a place where religion, politics and gender meet. Her artwork approaches issues that affect Jewish women on a political level.
For example, in her art piece “Coat of the Agunah”, currently shown at the Israeli Paper Biennale 2013, Arnovitz tears ancient Jewish marriage agreements (prints) into small strips and sews them into new arrangements, as if seeking to dismantle existing order and free Jewish women from arbitrary prohibitions. Not for nothing does she call herself a political feminist artist! She also admits that this piece probably wouldn’t have been displayed ten years ago.
During our short interview, Arnovitz emphasized that the most important part of her art is the “idea”. After the idea is born, she chooses the material that fits best in order to begin the process of hand labor. The wrapping, rolling, binding and tying motions are returning religious rituals in Judaism, and as an observant Jewish artist, Arnovitz finds it important that these motions are a recurring part of her art creation. As Jews have always been writers and recorders of religious words within paper scrolls, text also plays a role of significant importance in her art.
Arnovitz’s goal is to always raise awareness and move the viewer. She has certainly moved me. I find her an outstanding (paper) artist with an extraordinary artistic gift, whose art will hopefully keep on “opening” the eyes and minds of many!
“ A Mother’s early Morning Prayer” by Hava Pinhas Cohen, 2012, etching and drawings digitally reproduced and laser cut, edition of 25.
Detail “Dress of the Sotah” 2009 Japanese rice paper, hair, dirt, film and threads
Left “Vest of Prayers” Japanese paper, thread and found prayer book
Right ” Tzedakah Vest”
I am happy to share with you Andi Arnovitz’s paper artworks, as well as the dates of a few of her current and upcoming exhibits:
“Flight Patterns” Atlanta- Hartsfeld International Airport April 2014
“Textile Art in Israel” Eretz Israel Museum February 2014
“Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art and Voices” International Museum of Women on-line exhibition, December 2013
“A Seat at the Table” WoCA Projects, Fort Worth, Texas December 2013
“Paper Art in Israel II” Eretz Israel Museum, September 2013
Sacred Words, Sacred Texts” Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, through January 2014
Image courtesy Andi Arnovitz