Helen and Asnat
Helen and Asnat - Our "Works on Iron"
Our art is executed in a unique assemblage technique. We integrate authentic elements derived from the past in modernistic minimalist compositions on big industrial iron plates.
Israel is rooted in the oriental region of the world, and is co-inhabited by different cultures. The materials we use are derived from these cultures. Usually, elements of this kind would have been kept in the personal drawers of private people, or exhibited in museums. We take these materials and give them new meaning by integrating them into an artwork.
Through these pieces we connect with the Israeli and regional cultures, creating a linkage between them and emphasizing their common characteristics.
We use these artworks as a bridge between past and present. The mere thought that people of various cultures once used these same “materials” in the course of their daily lives, mesmerizes, exhilarates and links us to them. We conjure up their images. The Jew standing in prayer, donning the prayer shawl with the silver ornament, the hard-working Bedouins and Yemenites crafting the amulets and beads, the people who used these very same coins in days gone by.
The use of wood in some pieces intimately ties in with the entire series, both for the use of the rigid iron plates, and, with some pieces, for the combination of antique elements and woodwork. The use of iron as background and an integral part of the artworks is derived from the strength, ruggedness and authenticity that we perceive the iron to convey, thus providing a suitable background for these artworks.
We both live in Jerusalem, which is also where we find the materials we incorporate into our work. The search for these materials is a special experience on its own. We roam the allies of Jerusalem, visit the various markets, and make colorful and fascinating acquaintances. Some are open, gladly willing to help, while others are more reserved, and it takes a while longer to get them to cooperate with us. In more aspects than one, Jerusalem is reflected in our works, being an amalgamation of the old and new, the modern and the simple, an ingathering of the exiles and of religions, cultures and nationalities.
Helen and Asnat - Our Bronze and Wood Sculptures
We have chosen to work with railroad-tie oak wood in combination with Bronze.
Working with railroad-ties is challenging, both technically and artistically. Although initially they look similar, every piece is different and has its own character – like people: some are twisted, some are cracked, some are bent, and the years have left their marks and scars on them.
We try to preserve the natural form of the tie as far as possible. Often, it's the wood itself that determines for us the final shape of the sculpture. We listen to the wood, and to the clues emanating from it. Sometimes, we utilize the natural cracks in the wood to widen them, or to crack it open. It is our role to listen to the wood, and "deliver" the sculpture from within.
The combination of bronze and wood creates a fascinating dialog between the two materials. Bronze and wood are opposing materials, bringing out the dark against the light, the rough against the smooth, the masculine against the feminine. Together - they create a complementing wholeness. The duality is emphasized by the general shape of the sculptures – tall and slender – human-like, man-like and woman-like.
The final sculptures have a powerful defining presence, and one that interacts with their surroundings. While each sculpture can stand on its own, we find them especially appealing when grouped together. Their dialog and "human-like" appearance is thus more prominent, and their impact enhanced.