Caution: Wet Paint

Ellie Armon Azoulay
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Ellie Armon Azoulay

This evening marks the opening of the Tel Aviv Fresh Paint Contemporary Art Fair at the Jaffa port, which itself is in the process of being made over. All of the works displayed at the third annual fair, co-founded by Yifat Gurion and Sharon Tillinger, will be for sale; this year 28 galleries are participating, as compared to 17 last year.

A notable change this year is that the artists will not have solo shows, but will rather take part in small group shows spread over two exhibition spaces, with six artists to each show. Matan Daube, one of the organizers and curators of the fair, explains that each space has a theme unifying its artists. In most of the spaces, it seems aesthetic and formal considerations dictated the hanging of the artwork, and not necessarily anything more than that.

Many of the items on display are paintings and photographs but surprisingly, especially as compared to the two previous years, sculpture is generously represented this year as well. A video collection curated by Edna Moshenson is one noteworthy addition: it consists of works by 13 artists among them Nurit Sharett, Avi Dabah, Nevet Yitzhak, Nir Evron and Ariel Caine spread around various parts of a greenhouse.

As at previous fairs, five projects were awarded financial support this year. The first is a collaboration by artists Michal Heiman and Nivi Alroy called The Third (Her), consisting of a full-length film, sculptures combined with video, and drawings done while the film was being made. Another project is a small exhibition entitled Southern Exposure completed by five graduates all of them women of the art department at Sapir College (curated by Danny Yahav-Braun and Liav Mizrahi, who teach at the college). The remaining commissioned works include a joint project by Tzachi Buchbut and Johanna Reich, and two separate installations by Yifat Bezalel and Orly Hummel.

This years art fair also boasts a secret postcard exhibition made up of 1,500 postcards of original artwork displayed anonymously and at the set price of 180 shekels each, with the artists name unknown until after the purchase. All the proceeds from the postcard sales will be donated toward scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to study art at the Tel Aviv Museum of Arts Education Center. Through the generosity of the foundation set up in her name, works by the late artist Lea Nikel will also be auctioned off at the fair, with all the proceeds funding art workshops for children with cancer at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.

The fairs Promising Artist Award given annually by collector Igal Ahouvi went to photographer Dror Daum last year. This year Daum is showing his exhibition Paradise Lost (curated by Sarit Shapira). The winner of this years award will be announced at the opening of the fair and will receive a cash prize of NIS 20,000.

Lectures and workshops will be given over the course of the events four days, both by artists exhibiting in the fair, as well others not participating. It should be mentioned that two other exhibitions are also running in the Jaffa Port area at this time: The Golden Chain, a group show in memory of Yiddish poet Abraham Sutzkever; and an exhibition of works by the artist Zelig Segal, curated by artist Sigalit Landau.

Setting up for the Tel Aviv Fresh Paint Contemporary Art Fair at the Jaffa port.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik

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