Untitled, 2011 (installation view), painterly installation, courtesy of the artist
A formal array of lines, shapes and colors, painted and glued, comprises Iva Kafri's work, which begs to be defined as a voluminous painting or a painterly installation. The space within which she works functions as a surface of canvas or paper, into and on which she constructs her "painting," into and to which she applies painterly values.
Kafri works with colorful papers, wallpapers, ropes, and paints of various types to construct the painterly layout on the walls and floor. The finished work begs to be discussed as a composition founded on equilibrium, and to be compared with paintings by Kandinsky or Miró. The very mention of these artists clarifies something fundamental about Kafri's work: She does not recount a story or, at least, not a story that may be verbalized in terms of plot. Unlike the bulk of contemporary painting, which unfolds a narrative via figurative images, Kafri's act is formal, challenging our discourse about art: What are we talking about when we talk about abstract? How does one put formal values into words?
Entering Kafri's room/painting, concepts such as bright, light, and airy emerge; yellow acquires a presence as a differentiated entity. One may also talk about unraveled, disheveled, and fluid, and in contrast, or in relation to them-about organized, acute, and angular. The dichotomy between figurative and abstract is deconstructed by itself, and another pair of concepts, which has nourished the discourse of painting since the previous century, turns out to be useless when we come to contemporary art.
Born in Israel, 1981; lives and works in Tel Aviv