Zum Gesund Und Zum Leben, 1995, from the series "Genie-ology," computerized embroidery on tapestry, 32.5 x 64 cm, courtesy of the artist
Haim Maor was one of the first Israeli artists to transform handicrafts into a powerful tool for expressing social, political, gender-related and religious criticism. During the 1970s, he combined sewing with Minimalist body art, and created a form of "soft" Minimalism based on a consistent use of fabric. Back then, he associated sewing with processes of perforation, marking and healing - which were related to his experience as the son of Holocaust survivors. During the 1980s and 1990s, Maor continued to combine handicrafts and sewn decorative elements in works that subverted the canonical Israeli ethos of the "poverty of matter." This series of works from the 1970s, which is exhibited here for the first time, is based on ready-made sewing patterns borrowed from his mother's domestic world. They are exhibited alongside ornamental curtains that were created during the 1980s and 1990s, and which resemble the ritual curtains that conceal the Torah scroll in Jewish synagogues; based on fiber weaves and quilting, these later works - which were created in the aftermath of the war in Lebanon and the Intifada - are concerned with blindness in a political and social context, and contain images of various animals in mythological and allegorical contexts. In A Perfect War, for instance, a dying lion and a gazelle that is giving birth appear against a background of camouflage fabric, on both sides of an Oriental carpet. Maor's bitter and sober humor is similarly evident in later works, such as Zum Gesund Und Zum Leben (To Health and to Life), in which this Yiddish expression was written by means of computerized embroidery combined with a Venetian scene.
Born in Jaffa, 1951; lives and works in Meitar