Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
One West 4th Street, New York, NY
February 14 - June 30, 2005
Aliza Olmert: Tikkun, an exhibition of conceptual photographs and constructions, will be presented at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, February 14 through June 30, 2005. "Art suggests options for a renewed ordering of realities," says Olmert. She confronts the reconstruction of fragments and shards - fastening, gluing, splicing together - attempting to develop a system of defenses against further breakage.
Olmert's conceptual art offers impossible constructions that convey the fragility of existence, the obstacles to survival, and the imperative to sustain life. Tikkun, the Jewish charge to heal and restore balance in the world, is expressed through the mending of the shattered fragments in her haunting works. Olmert aims at existential content that expresses the essence of the human condition and transmits universal aspirations. Her works transcend the specificity of culture, heritage, and history, and extend meaning to viewers of all backgrounds.
"Olmert's questioning work examines the desperate, futile efforts to repair flawed perfection," notes Laura Kruger, Curator. "Through her photographs and constructions, we are forced to see that the parts are, in of themselves, transcendent. Her valiant efforts to repair damage, to regain the whole, by piercing, pinning, and wiring disintegrating fragments offers deep symbolic meaning fraught with poignancy and vulnerability."
"Absurdity and the search for consolation are essential components in Olmert's works," notes Hana Kofler in her catalog essay. "There reverberates the existential paradox realized through the Hasidic saying, 'There is nothing more whole than a broken heart.'
"As a daughter of survivors of the Holocaust and as an artist whose life has been shaped by Israel's struggle for security, Olmert's works allude to the emotional toll of successive wars and ongoing terror," notes Jean Bloch Rosensaft, HUC-JIR Museum Director. "Olmert's art manifests the ineffable strengths that have ensured survival. This exhibition represents our Museum's commitment to Israeli-North American cultural exchange and our mission of affirming the vitality and creativity of the universal human spirit."
Alisa Olmert was born in the displaced persons camp of Eschwege, Germany in 1946 and immigrated to Israel in 1949. She served in the Israel Army as a topography instructor, received the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from The Hebrew University of
Jerusalem (1970), and studied Landscape Architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem (1985-1988).
Olmert's sculpture, painting, installation, and photography have been widely exhibited in Israel, the United States, and internationally. She has had one-person exhibitions at the Nikko Gallery, Tokyo; the Ricolette Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina; The Municipal Museum in Montevideo, Uruguay; and the Bertha Urdang Gallery in New York. In Israel, she has had exhibitions at the Ramat-Gan Museum, the Jerusalem Theater Gallery, the Schatz Gallery and The Artists House in Jerusalem, and the Ribenfeld Gallery, Nelly Arman Gallery, and Naveh Tzedek Gallery in Tel Aviv. She has participated in group exhibitions at The Candid Art Trust, Islington, London; The Arts Center, Govio, Italy; the Rothschild Gallery, Paris; the University of Brazil; the Ben Uri Gallery, London; The Artists House, The Hague; The Postal Museum, Frankfort; The Foreign Art Museum, Riga, Latvia; and The Art Center, Barcelona. In Israel, her works have been included in group shows at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, Givataim Theatre, Yad Lebanim Museum in Petach Tikva, Museum Hatzer Hayeshuv in Jerusalem, and the Leo Baeck Center in Jerusalem.
As a writer for theater and film, her works include "Jerusalem Between Heaven and Earth" (1996), a three-part documentary directed by Willie Lindver for Dutch Television; "Piano Fantasy" (1995), a drama following the life of a Holocaust survivor that returns to her village in Poland; "Slice of Sea" (1995), a television drama love story; "Preparatory Exam" (1992), a television drama portraying adolescent solidarity, directed by Danny Wolman; and "Synonym" (1990), a television drama about the relationship between a Holocaust survivor and her children, written with Savion Liebrecht and directed by Nitza Gonen for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority.
Exhibition catalog available upon request. Catalog includes essay by Hana Kofler and 13 illustrations.
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Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu