Israel Israel Patrons Circle

Maya Dunietz, Yehudit Sasportas‘Returning to nature’, 2020

As part of the exhibition Returning to Nature – an initiative of the Jerusalem Botanical Garden and in collaboration with Outset Israel– sixteen sculptures by leading Israeli artists have been installed throughout the gardens.

Among the works on display are iconic sculptures by artists like Menashe Kadishman and Dani Karavan, works by established artists such as Tsibi Geva, Yehudit Sasportas and Sigalit Landau, and works by younger artists such as Ella Littwitz, Yaara Zach, Moshe Roas and Saher Miari.

The project includes two newly commissioned site specific works, produced with the support of Outset, in the context of the exhibition: the Israel debut of a chapter from the work Liquid Desert by Yehudit Sasportas, and a sound work by Maya Dunietz, which responds to the sounds and rustle of the garden. Maya’s work Chapters for the Garden was donated to the garden’s permanent collection on behalf of Outset and our supporters.

The different works are spread throughout the garden at numerous spots, some of which are more visible while others are hidden from sight. Their manner of installation calls on visitors to follow a circular path; as they tread through it, they can discover both the greenery they are surrounded by and the art.

Some of the sculptures appear to respond to the shrubbery around them, conducting a dialogue with it that is at once formal, material and narrative. Other works seem to stand out from their surroundings, thereby insisting to maintain their foreignness within the natural space. Thus, the exhibition combines between vertical, monumental, sculpture and horizontal sculpture, that sprawls throughout the garden and responds to its features instead of breaching its confines. Together, the various works reflect a rich and layered range of local sculptural work.

The title of the exhibition attests to the return to the outside after a long period of closure due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, but also to a dimension of returning to nature present in the local sculptural language. In this context, the exhibition sheds light on the constant pendulum swing between works that rely on the use of defined outlines and heavy materials like iron or bronze, and works that use synthetic materials like rubber, latex or polyester as well as softened and rounded forms.