Further to its recent reopening, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is opening a solo exhibition for Melech Berger, a 94-year-old artist who worked for decades outside the mainstream of the art world. The museum is displaying his body of work, reflecting an idealogical artist driven by social values of peace, brotherhood and equality between all races and species. This is his first museum exhibition.
WHEN: Dec 10, 2020 - May 1, 2021
The choice to display art created outside the mainstream is a response of sorts to the upheaval we are experiencing in the present period. Faced with changing world orders and in the face of the demand from the art world to respond to the current reality, Melech Berger's work offers an unexpected example of art inspired by ideas and beliefs that conveys its values. Melech Berger enlists art in the service of conveying a message, in the sincerity and determination of a believer, driven by an urgent sense of mission. His works correspond with current trends, such as environmental and ecological awareness and understanding of the need to preserve nature, for the benefit of the entire universe.
Alongside the ideological tension underlying the compositions, his works are rich in visual and material inventions, and captivating forms. The exhibition presents about 40 works, including "Conditions for a Flourishing Humanity" - a large work consisting of 36 parts that bears the name of the exhibition and is a kind of manifesto for the entire complex of Melech Berger's work.
Melech Berger was born in 1926 in Czechoslovakia. When he was three, his family emigrated to Brazil, where he grew up on one of the farms set up by Baron Hirsch for Jews in Latin America. As a teenager he joined the communist movement. In 1951 he immigrated to Israel and lived in the Kibbutzim 'Mefalsim', 'Ga'ash' and 'Yad Hana'. In 1960, he moved to 'Be'er Sheva' and worked in the city's gardening department, until he retired. In the 1970s he began to create art with materials he found in nature: seeds, twigs, feathers, bark, small pebbles, powder crushed from stones and more. The various materials were glued with plastic glue on a thin plywood substrate and the picture frames were built from bark. The aesthetics of his works refer to various sources: illustrated manuscripts, medieval book descriptions of the seasons, murals from Latin America, futuristic painting language and posters in the style of socialist realism.
Curation: Ruth Direktor
Assistant Curator: Galit Landau Epstein
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