Prize for a Young Israeli Artist: Gil Yefman
Gil Yefman (born in Kibbutz Ramat Yohanan in 1979) is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. He first entered the world of Israeli art at the end of the 1990s in a joint project with his sister, artist Rona Yefman, in a series of photographs that document his initial experiences with changing his sexual identity. Later, his involvement with sexuality, otherness, and the politics of identities was expanded from the individual body and led to the creation of installations and soft sculptural objects. Yefman created knitted pastel-colored sculptures that resemble a grotesque multi-limbed body, fluid and vulnerable, and formulated an original and unique sculptural language. The choice of techniques such as knitting and sewing, which are identified as feminine and decorative crafts, reflected his stance with regard to the margins, and the objects have been interpreted more than once as a defense mechanism that functions as a soft cover for a vulnerable and threatened body.
In his works, personal, mythological, historical and political narratives intersect and are interwoven. One of the main principles in his creations is the use of a model – creating an organized pattern of fixed activity, which characterizes traditional techniques. In recent years, the artist uses this principle with traumatic images as well. In their repeated appearances, these images turn into ornament and hint at the danger of repression and forgetting, and at mankind’s coping with tragic historic narratives. Yefman’s work examines the danger that lurks at the door of the artist who seeks visual pleasure. While adopting practices of grotesquerie, humor and provocation, Yefman’s works create art that is exciting, evocative and moving. Yefman has presented exhibitions in various galleries in Israel, New York, Taipei and Tokyo.