Ben Hagari’s Potter’s Will (2015) melds the prehistoric art of pottery making with contemporary video art, reconfiguring primordial myths related to creation and destruction, life and death. In this multimedia installation, organized by Faculty Curator Gannit Ankori, a potter’s rotating studio is on display as both a physical site and a projected sight, inviting the audience to engage in an immersive experience.
The first part of the video documents the transformation of a lump of clay into a beautiful pot, molded by the masterful hands of Paul Chaleff. The potter’s wheel – like the eye of the storm – is strangely still within the whirling set. The next section follows the pot’s metamorphosis into a clay-covered human being, confronted by the kiln’s fire. Deliberate allusions range from Adam and the serpent of Genesis to ancient Egypt’s divine potter Khnum. Additional archetypal references include the four elements (water, earth, wind and fire), geometric symbols (squares that transform into circles) and the tail-biting snake, the Uroboros.
Hagari is the inaugural recipient of The Chami Fruchter Prize, a biennial award presented to an emerging Israeli video artist, administered jointly by the Rose Art Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. A publication, co-edited by Ankori, will accompany the exhibition.