Art | Need To Now

Snap up students’ work before they hit the big time

On show and on sale – innovative pieces from Jerusalem’s prestigious design academy

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Snap up students’ work before they hit the big time

May 04 2011
Nicole Swengley

Contemporary design collectors and anyone who enjoys spotting emerging talent will be intrigued and excited by a selling exhibition – the UK’s first – showcasing innovative work by students and graduates of Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.

This week-long show, beginning on May 5, is a collaboration between Sotheby’s and curator Janice Blackburn, herself a passionate collector, and the imaginative, engaging work chosen will further endorse the reputation for creative originality that Bezalel Academy has enjoyed since it was founded in 1906.

Blackburn’s selection comprises a representative swathe of the Academy’s multifaceted artistic activities with ceramics, glass and industrial design shown alongside a photography project on the port of Ashdod and an experimental (not for sale) fashion shoe project, “Red but not Tapping”.

“I feel the work is very fresh, original and independent,” says Blackburn. “Bezalel is creatively a bit isolated from the leading European design academies and its students bring a lot of influence from their own cultures, from Russia and the East, to their work. I find this very refreshing.”

For those with a penchant for contemporary glass, there’s a solid-glass sculpture (£1,200) by Kateria Verguelis and a glass skull, “3D X-Ray” (£600) by Ziv Gannel. Ceramics collectors, meanwhile, should check out Idit Yemini’s politically inspired “Untitled” porcelain pot (third picture, £360) from which plastic, gun-toting figures emerge through a crack, Orly Montag’s “Made of China” figures (£400 and £800), Eleonora Orly Edlavith’s porcelain figurines (£120-£480) and Hagar Ben Meir’s pots (£16 each; £140 for 10).

Hand-picked work from Bezalel Academy alumni includes Tal Gur’s intriguing metal/plastic Mesh chair (£3,900), Sturdy Straws chair (£2,350) and Og light (£600), Ezri Tarazi’s witty but practical Baghdad table (second picture, £10,400), David Amar’s reclaimed wood/aluminium “Raymond” table (first picture, from £1,300), Zemer Peled’s lidded porcelain pots (£800) and a wall installation (£2,000) by design duo, Shay Alkalay and Yael Mer, whose Raw Edges studio creates interiors for Stella McCartney stores worldwide. Mindful of this, it could well be worth snapping up the students’ work before they hit the big time too.