Tug of War, 2009 (detail), wax and wood, 25 x 190 x 20 cm, courtesy of the artist, photo: Rami Maymon
Shira Zelwer successfully elevates marginal elements and extracts them from their mundane origins. Her sculptures are usually tiny, doll-like human figures which reflect different social classes or political affiliations. Her depiction highlights the fashion codes and attributes that reflect the diversity of Israeli culture. In creating
Tug of War (2009) especially for this show, Zelwer chose a nostalgic image associated in our collective consciousness with childhood games. The power of the image derives from the paradox that characterizes the seeming purposelessness of this game of physical power, so characteristic of Israeli political life. Zelwer's sculptures in malleable, perishable wax are handmade rather than cast. The malleable material is fashioned into three-dimensional objects, on which she paints minute details. The styling of the figures brings to mind shop-class decorative craft - a technique that betrays all blemishes and "stutters," distortions and excesses. These characteristics confer a mundane, grotesque feel to her sculptures, which illuminate the Israeli emotional sphere from a critical but compassionate point of view.
Born in Jerusalem, 1978; lives and works in Tel Aviv