Providence College Galleries (PC–G) continues its Beyond Bauhaus programming—a more than yearlong series of exhibitions, publications and commissioned installations featuring contemporary artists whose practices are inspired by or respondent to the history of Bauhaus (1919-1933), the German art school so influential on modern art, architecture, craft, design and education.
From the seafoam and clouds to the here and now examines how contemporary artists from Tel Aviv take as their subject the form, myth, message and image of their city’s iconic area of Modernist structures: The White City, a collection of over 4,000 buildings built in a unique form of Bauhaus or International Style. This group exhibition brings together a wide-range of artists who live in Tel Aviv and conduct visual research on various aspects of the White City’s unique legacy, which synthesizes the goals and aesthetics of Bauhaus with the ancient and modern cultures of the multi-cultural Middle East. With new art objects, installations and more commissioned by PC–G, the artists use their work to bring forth past and present elements of related architecture, design and style as well as urban culture, capitalist spectacle and daily life. Their exploration of Bauhaus’ hulking influence on their city’s urban plan take many forms, from found-object sculpture and smallscale architectural projects to collage, painting and photography.
Across all elements of From seafoam and clouds to the here and now artists deconstruct the physical and psychological qualities of different built environments ranging from institutional and residential architecture to plazas, parks and gardens. Playing up symbolism and illustration, Ronny Carny and Shay Zilberman employ imagery that alternates between representation and abstraction to showcase a kind of urban alchemy cultivated by artists and resident citizens alike. Yael Efrati and Hilla Toony Navok use free-standing sculpture to bring together architectural elements from historical and contemporary versions of these spaces, including wall sections, lighting fixtures, and surface treatments. The resulting works create sculptural vignettes that imply the whole with mere fragments. David Adika draws from his extensive photographic research into disciplinary architectures and design throughout time, highlighting specific details from peripheral firms and geographies of the Middle East and Northern Africa. Making with visual vocabularies and art histories at once inspiring and sordid, these artists ultimately convey how their city’s origin story and embrace of Bauhaus figures and styles is complexly intertwined with its mythology.
This exhibition is also part of PC–G’s Many Cities, One Providence, an ongoing exhibition series offering Providence audiences idiosyncratic glimpses of innovative contemporary artists working in cities around the world. The series stems from PC–G’s interest in cultivating relationships with artists, scholars and arts communities from around the world in order to draw connections between the city of Providence and other national and international urban contexts.
From seafoam and clouds to the here and now is organized by Jamilee Lacy, PC–G Director and Chief Curator, with guest curator Dr. Revital Michali, an independent curator and art historian from Tel Aviv. It is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Artis, Israel Consul General’s Office, and Department of Art & Art History at Providence College.
David Adika, Ronny Carny, Yael Efrati, Hilla Toony Navok, and Shay Zilberman.