Monday, 30 October 2017

From Within

I was recently lucky enough to see an extraordinary exhibition at the Jaffa Port, "From Within", by the artist Nirit Levav Packer. I was already familiar with Nirit's work through her Dog series, which I have seen in several high-end gift shops in the Tel Aviv area, but this was exhibition something extra special. Her life-size statues of pregnant women, made mainly of metals (motorcycle and car parts), as well as coat hangers, branches and more were at the centre of the exhibit. The Dog series "Unchained", and dresses made of various materials, were an extra treat, and showed me just how imaginative and talented Nirit Levav Packer really is.
Nirit Levav Packer was born in 1963. She graduated from the Parsons School of Design in New York with a degree in fashion design, then proceeded to develop a career in fashion, specialising in wedding dresses.
Nirit acquired most of her early training as an artist at her father's theatre sets workshop. The workshop was often visited by renowned sculptors and painters and Nirit would spend her vacations helping her father. He taught her welding, metal cutting and most importantly of all, not to fear experimenting with various ideas and substances. This training was complemented by her mother, a crafts teacher and a hobbyist seamstress. 
After a number of years, Nirit realised that she was no longer fulfilled by being solely a fashion designer. Though there was a creative element to making wedding dresses, she was limited to a certain type of cloth and colour. Parallel to her other occupations, she started to explore other creative avenues and broaden her education by studying jewellery, pottery, ceramic sculpture and iron sculpting. After a random visit to a bike shop, where she asked for the shop's accumulated junk and received a box full of bicycle chains, she decided to focus on a single raw material - recycled bicycle chains, and on a single theme - dogs. The Dog series began, and the 20 or so figures in the "From Within" series followed.
The sculptures, composed of junk collected by the artist, illustrate her ability to humanise and instill delicacy and softness into hard, cold metal. In them she merges her full femininity (mother of 4, former designer of delicate, white wedding dresses) with the masculine power within her - metal work, welding and cutting, lifting heavy weights, rummaging through garbage containers and more.
"Curly", above, features a kneeling pregnant woman, with arms raised and placed on her head. This piece is made of motorcycle connecting rods but they give the impression of being skin-like. Other alluring figures in the main section of the exhibition include "Dotty", made of motorcycle ball bearings; "Jumpy", naturally out of car engine springs; and "Prayer" for which Nirit used motorcycle roller bearing cages. 
Of course the former clothes designer could not entirely neglect her former breadwinning line. In addition to the wonderful "From Within" series was a display of dresses you simply wanted to slip over your head, despite the fact that they were made from metals, cogs and bicycle chains. Eight dresses were on show, including one particularly attractive item made of light bulbs, above, and another put together from house keys.
The "Unchained" section of the exhibition, which is devoted to a motley collection of canine shapes, was delightful! There was a comical sculpture of an English bulldog made of watches and an oversized Afghan Hound made of bicycle chains. A miniature poodle waits eagerly for her treat. From Rottweilers to Dachshunds to cute little Yorkshire Terriers, the artist has managed to turn metal fragments into a wide variety of different breeds, and has captured the dogs' gentleness and sensitivity, despite the use of scrap metal. I was particularly fond of the Boxer, above, with his nodding head.
"From Within" was a charming exhibition, full of original works and brilliant ideas, and situated in the most amazing space at the Jaffa Port. I enjoyed it so much that I went back for a second look another day!
Sunday Snap


Tamar SB said...

These are just amazing!!

Cheryl | Time To Craft said...

Oh my goodness. What an amazing exhibition and artist. I'm not surprised you went back again. I think I would have been tempted to. Thank you for sharing. Loved your photos. #MMBC

NC Sue said...

Wow - that's amazing!
Thanks for linking up at

Anonymous said...

"Curly" maybe my favorite! Wished more women thought about themselves more like she does:) The wedding dress is very intricate! No wonder you went back the next day:) My thanks for sharing this excellent exhibit of this artist with All Seasons! Wishing you a beautiful week:)

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Great exhibit! Thanks so much for sharing! Have a lovely week!

Jibber JabberUK said...

What a great use of old materials. I had fun looking through the photos trying to work out what each item was made up of.

VeggieMummy said...

What a fascinating post. That is one very talented lady - all those delicate, flowing designs from bits of metal. I especially love some of those dog poses! Have a wonderful weekend. xx

The House with the Blue Door said...

What beautiful and graceful sculptures from something as heavy as metal! Thank you for sharing.
Cathy x

handmade by amalia said...

This does look like fun, Lisa. And I enjoyed all the background info you gave us with the photos. I hope I can catch it as well.

riitta k said...

Stunning female themed works of art!

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