Jan 2020 - Sturdy (Main Gallery)
Born in 1978.
Lives and works in Tel-Aviv
2006-2008 M.F.A - Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem
2001-2005 B.ED in art education, Hamidrasha School of Visual Art, Beit-Berl College
2019 Sturdy, Maya Gallery, Tel-Aviv
2018 A foot in the sea, The lobby – place for art, Tel-Aviv
2016 After the wind, Ein-Harod Museum
2015 Black Bird, Redtory Museum of art, Guangzohu.
2013 Holding to Edges, one project-tree exhibition-three galleries, Israel.
2012 Falling mountain, SOMA museum of art, Seoul, S. Korea.
Name: Chaya, Gallery 39, Tel-Aviv, Israel
2011 Heroica, Petach-Tikva Museum of Art, Israel
Tosafist, Gallery 39, Tel Aviv, Israel
2010 Avital Cnaani, Herzliya Museum of Art, Israel
Strangler Fig, Harlem Studio, New York, NY 2008 Sill, Artists House, Tel Aviv, Israel
2007 Solo Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
2004 Cabri Art Gallery, Israel
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Nature does not long for happiness.
2017 He never stayed for breakfast, Kupferman collection
Along the line, atelier Shemi, Kibbutz Cabri
Drawing Biennial, Jerusalem Print workshop gallery, Jerusalem, Israel
2016 New Horizon for new horizons, Ein-Harod museum
Allegory of now, Artist house, Tel-Aviv 2015 Out of proportion, Open University gallery
2014 Dynasties, Haifa Museum of Art
Fresh Paint Art Fair, Tel Aviv, Israel
Chicago Triangle, Haifa Museum of Art
2013 The 5th Biennale for drawing in Israel, Jerusalem, Israel
Space Shuttle Project, Tel-Aviv Municipality
2012 Patterns of behavior, Jerusalem Print workshop gallery, Jerusalem, Israel
Lines, Ticho House, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel 2011 Body without Body, Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin, Germany 2010 Oversees Project, Givatayim Art Gallery, Israel
Fall, Ehrlich Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
2009 Sculpture Now, Bezalel Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
Neues Sehen – Junge Kunst aus Israel, Städtische galerie, Bremen, Germany 2008 Power Show 04, Kuandu Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
Borderline / Mirror-Like, Huashan Culture Park, Taipei, Taiwan
Salame 008 – MFA Graduate Exhibition, Bezalel Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel Fresh-Paint art fair, Tel Aviv, Israel
Regba, Barbur Gallery, Jerusalem, Israel
2007 Four Decades of Feminism in Israeli Art, Haifa Museum, Israel
2006 2006, Gordon Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
2005 The Scream – Homage to Munch, Line 16 Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
2010-2014 Sailing Bird / dance and sculpture – collaboration with the choreographer Anat Shamgar, Susanne-Dellal Center, Tel-Aviv
2012 The Phoenix, with the sculptor Nir Adoni, Mazeh 9 - space for art, Tel-Aviv
Awards and Scholarships
2015 The Pais (Israeli Lottery) Culture Grant Rabinovich Foundation grant
2014 Asylum Arts, New-York
2013 Siena Art Institute, Siena, Italy
2012 The Pais (Israeli Lottery) Culture Grant
Rabinovich Foundation grant
Jerusalem Print Workshop Scholarship
2010 Mongin Art Center Fellowship, Seoul
Harlem Studio Fellowship by Montarioarte, New York
2009 Young Artist Award, The Israeli Ministry of Culture
2008 Creativity Encouragement Scholarship, Bezalel Academy of Art
America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship 2005 Excellence Award, Hamidrasha School of Visual Art 2004-2005 America-Israel Cultural Foundation Grant
2005 Excellence Award, Hamidrasha School of Visual Art
2004-2005 America-Israel Cultural Foundation Grant
Exhibition - Sturdy | Avital Cnaani
Surprisingly, the word “Cardboard” first appeared in the English language as an alternative drawing surface – in Ann Brontë’s novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848). When the future husband of Helen Graham, the novel’s heroine, observes a faded drawing on the backside of one of her works, she worryingly notes that “the pencil frequently leaves an impression upon cardboard that no amount of rubbing can efface”. Helen is anxious that once the man will recognize the image, which depicts his own portrait, he will know of her true feelings for him. The story presents the cardboard as the insignificant backside of the drawing, but also as a material that inscribes the truth.
In her show “Sturdy”, Avital Cnaani uses cardboard not only as a drawing surface, but also as a material for sculpture and as an ontological object. It serves as a material for the creation of three dimensional stains, or is presented in its entirety as abandoned storage boxes, carrying their original marks and labels. Although, as opposed to her previous shows, in the current show the drawings are “drawingly” hung and the sculptures are “sculpturely” mounted, the two media continue to blend in space. Ultimately, cardboard is made of paper, and is essentially a two dimensional material.
The One and the Inside
Following the word’s literary etymology, one could continue to elaborate about cardboard usage throughout art history, from the early 20th century Cubist collages and Dada masks, through Andy Warhol’s reversed ready-made Brillo boxes of the 1960s, and finally the usage of quotidian materials by the local Want of Matter. But the exhibition’s surroundings does not draw from these art historical connotations. Cnaani investigates the cardboard itself, as an abstract entity holding a physical, or more specifically spatial, function.
A cardboard box is a leftover, a packaging or covering. Its shape is designated by what it holds. By using it, Cnaani continues her preoccupation in the surface of materials, as seen in her previous Formica sculptures. Similarly to Formica, which disguises itself as another material, cardboard too is affiliated with make-believe, as the word is also used to describe something fake, or provisional. Indeed, Cnaani’s use of cardboard summons a child-like imaginary game: the painted cardboard cut outs seem as props in a children theater play, and the large boxes invites us to play “house”.
But the images painted on the boxes do not seek representation; at least not in the straightforward sense of the word. And as opposed to the boxes’ flat exteriors, the full, amorphic stains mark an inside. Contrary to Cnaani’s previous sculptures, which were made in pieces, her present works are channeled towards the single. Complete cardboard boxes carry whole images. The latter are spread across a grid formed by the boxes’ folding marks, so that the disassembling of both image and surface is derived from the boxes’ production conditions. Drifting across the show, the viewer is propelled by a constant tension between the consolidation of the singular to its segmentation.
Land, Sea, Air
In contrast to Cnaani’s wooden and Formica constructions, which seemed like dry skeletons, the cardboard has a kind of liveliness to it. When it is stained by color, it changes its texture, similarly to beach sand in its repeated meeting with the sea water. It is as if the puddled stains, primary amoebas and whale-like wombs that are spread across the boxes move between land and sea while performing an archaic moment of evolutionary stranding; a mitosis of division and segmentation. However, these images also follow a closed circle of life and death, or a nullifying primacy. The narrow, upright boxes seem like vertical coffins, suited to the dimensions of the flat bodies imprinted on and inside them. Thus, these sturdy cardboard shells remain at a loss.
Deep Ecology/Low-Grade Cardboard
Allegedly, this cardboard show could not have opened in a more fitting timing – at the pick of public awareness to the ecological crises. Indeed, Cnaani did not only used cardboard, which is made of recycled paper, but also appropriated cardboard labeled as “low-grade”. Recycling the recycled. Nonetheless, this is by no means a show of recycled art, or “Junk Art”, delivering some kind of an activist ecological message. Cnaani acts from within a “deep ecology”, as she terms it. A personal ecology, through which she ponders the mere possibility of creating art in a world of abundance, and strives for reduction. To return to the singular.