Mon 31 Dec 2012
Did I already say that I love exploring small art museums? Of course, I also love even more visiting the great museums of the world, but the experience of finding a small museum in a not-so-important city, in a remote and sometimes unexpected place in the world is also a source of satisfaction and sometimes of wonderful surprises. This is the case with the Glass Art Museum in Arad (the Israeli city of Arad, not the Romanian one) which I wanted to see for quite a while and I eventually got to last week.
Located in the outskirts of the city of Arad, in an industrial area turned into artists’ district, the museum is easy to find when traveling to or from the Dead Sea. Established by the Fridman family, it aims to be an open house for all artists and fans of glass art. The experience of the visit is quite pleasant as visitors are guided by one of the four permanent guides, one of them being the house artist Gideon Fridman, whose works occupy most of the space (but the museum also hosts works of other artists working in the media).
Fridman started to work in glass about 17 years ago, and he does not blow glass, but rather uses recycled glass of all sorts which he processes using techniques of his own. One of the effects he discovered and masters allows for the work to change shape depending on the angle you are looking at it. The guides will help you walk in between the works and observe the unique effects, as well as the special way of lighting used in the museum, where light does not fall directly on the works, but on the walls and cellar, and the passing of the light though the material creates the shapes.
Here are a few of the many remarkable works, but I should warn from start that a full understanding of the art in the Arad Glass Art Museum is complete only if you get there, move in between the works, and get the dynamics of the interaction between glass, movement, viewers.
‘A Female Heritage’
‘All My Sons’ - an impressive memorial work
‘The Wall of Spirit’ - the interpretation is left free to the viewer, I was impressed by the missing places, as well as by the occupied ones.
‘Violence 99′ is quite different in style from the majority of the other works, but the message is striking.
The name of this work ‘Genesis 2:23′ alludes to the creation of Eve in the Bible. Nine statues as the nine months of human pregnancy, nine steps in the evolution of Woman, from the slim curve of Adam’s Rib, through growth, youth, maturity to the eventual decay.
‘Yirimiahu 2:2′ sends us to another quote from the Bible, telling the story of Abraham, the son he embraces, and the other son – Ishmael. A dot of blood reminds the conflict between the descendents of Abraham, painfully open until the modern times.
A separate room in the museum hosts in darkness a huge candle, lit from inside, a symbol of remembrance for the Holocaust. It could as well be hosted at Yad Vashem.