Cabinets of Wonder in Contemporary Art,
Belle Shafir was born in Germany, and immigrated to Israel in 1972. Following art studies, she began showing her work in one-person and group exhibitions in Israel and abroad. In the early 1990s she mainly sculpted from natural materials, and installed large-scale environmental works in which she developed a technique and a language all her own, which oscillated between the crude and the man-made, between nature and culture. In these works and in accompanying drawings and paintings Shafir scrutinized the inner structural logic of natural formations, developing her own imagery and even her own technique for treating her materials.
In the ensuing years, during the 2000s, her works grew more introspective, with the emphasis shifting to interior installations in which the physical and the imaginary are intertwined almost inseparably. Tiny units are meshed together to form intricate complexes in a manner reminiscent of molecular units comprising the depth structures of patterned systems in nature and science alike. The enclaves of life echoing in her work allude to hidden processes secretly shaping reality worlds which lie between the poles of integration and disorientation, growth and destruction, construction and desistance.
Shafir explores the traces of memory imprinted in nature vestiges as well as in cultural codes, tracing the complex affinity systems between script, language, and identity, both private and collective. In recent years, current dimensions pertaining to mutation, genetics, and cloning have begun to infiltrate her work. Shafir addresses their existential, ethical, and metaphorical meanings, delving into their implications in contexts of self-identity undergoing change.
Belle Shafir reached high achievements in the visual art field. She had lots of exhibitions,
one man show & group exhibitions in Israel & abroad and different art projects.
Text by Ghila Limon, Curator, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel.