Bringing Israeli Art to US Audiences

In 2009, Roy Seifert saw an opportunity. There were a number of young Israeli artists whose work he was interested in, but there were not enough places for them to exhibit. So, he decided to found a gallery in Tel Aviv focusing on emerging Israeli artists. Contempop opened and soon began not only hosting exhibitions at the gallery, but participating in art fairs around the world as well, offering international exposure for its growing roster of artists. In 2014, Seifert decided to make a bold move – he and his partner opted to open a second gallery in New York, seeing the move as a better way to fulfill their goal of bringing Israeli art to collectors and curators outside of Israel.

Seifert was drawn to If So, What? because of the event’s interest in bringing together art and technology. “More and more technology is an essential part of the process for the artists that I work with,” said Seifert. “Everything today involves technology and I love those cutting edge artists that use technology and aren’t afraid of it.”

For If So, What? Contempop will be exhibiting a selection of artists who draw on technology in different ways. Among the artists on view will be J. Margulis, an artist that designs his art digitally, before laser cutting and mounting his three-dimensional works. The Miami-based artist grew up in Venezuela, and got his start in his family’s digital printing business, where he learned techniques that he later incorporated into his artwork. His acrylic, three-dimensional sculptures play with geometric forms, often created or informed by the viewer’s perspective, and experiment with color and light. The kinetic works are all connected, and are contingent on movement – either within the work itself, or from the viewer.

 J. Margulis, The Leap PV, Lucite sheets mounted on UV aluminum print, 24 x 24, Courtesy Contempop

J. Margulis, The Leap PV, Lucite sheets mounted on UV aluminum print, 24 x 24, Courtesy Contempop

Seifert will also be exhibiting works by Justin Blayney, an artist who creates geometric abstractions that are revealed to be figurative works once viewed through the lens of a smartphone, as well as two photographers that use cutting edge production techniques from digital printing to digitally laser cutting Plexiglas – Igal Pardo and Klaus Leidorf. Pardo is an Israeli photographers who shoots photographs of Tel Aviv’s beaches, using a long exposure. He then manipulates the colors to render the works surreal, resulting in dreamy and mesmerizing landscapes.

Leidorf is an aerial photographer and archaeologist from Germany who pilots his own plane to capture stunning aerial imagery, most often of natural landscapes, many of which have been altered by manmade structures. Unlike Pardo, Leidorf does not alter the images that he shoots, but rather creates pure, unedited works. Contempop will be showing his “Lost” series, which depicts people in the middle of a body of water, with no land or beach visible around them.

 Klaus Leidorf, The complete lost series, 9 24/36" aerial set, Courtesy Contempop

Klaus Leidorf, The complete lost series, 9 24/36" aerial set, Courtesy Contempop

Together the works offer a broad aesthetic spectrum, but are united by their interest in using technology to create art that explores the way people interact and look at things – from the art itself to the world around us. “Since it’s my first time in San Francisco, I will bring a variety of artists,” said Seifert. “I think the fair will attract visitors that are able to digest art that is technology driven, and I think people will be very excited about these artists and works.”