An artist and writer working in Tel Aviv, Shulamit Kopf stretches the concept of canvas as far as she can with playful experimentation,
curiosity driving her art. She is always asking the question: “I wonder what will happen if…”
“I have a notebook in which I write my “what if…” questions. New ones pop up in my mind all the time, sometimes during the night and I can’t keep up with the list. I have more questions than answers.”
With a family history of inter-generational migration, bouncing back and forth between continents, it is not surprising that her work explores the subject of journeys.
She began her “Wormhole” series two years ago with unstretched canvasses, two meters long by one meter wide, on which she rendered thin black lines that curve, meander, turn a corner, meet, veer away, and at times intersect. Knowing how way leads on to way (in the words of poet Robert Frost) and since lines can fold back in time and space, she began folding the canvases, creating new intersections for the lines to meet, wormholes of the sort. At first, the folds were pressed flat but over time the folded canvasses began amassing volume turning into wall sculptures breaking the bourgeois concept of traditional canvass stretched on wooden frames.
But with each folding of the canvas, there is also loss, parts that must be reluctantly given up and hidden, just like the parts one leaves behind when one leaves on a journey. It takes courage to let go.
Kopf likes to collage vintage black and white photographs in her work evoking layers of memory, a process she began while preparing for a solo exhibition, “Moscow to Berlin,” which opened in Israel and then traveled to Poland and France.
Still Life, 2012
It was about memory, her mother’s journey as a soldier in the Polish army during World War II. In those works, she embedded sepia photographs plus historic yellowing bits of 70-year-old letters.
Kopf’s works do not easily fall into a category. They straddle the line between mostly abstract, and some figurative, here, barbed wire, there, an old woman traveling on the endless road. It is not a traditional painting nor is it a sculpture. There is no stability, perhaps Kopf is moving in the direction of installation. Her choices and improvisations are mostly subconscious.
In addition to a BA degree in philosophy and an MA in English literature, Kopf completed a BA in Art History at Tel Aviv University.
She has studied with painter Ronit Binder and at the Hatachana Studio in Tel Aviv with Aram Gershuni, Ilya Geftner, and Ran Tenenbaum. She has studied landscape painting with American artist Lois Griffel, former director of the Cape Cod School of Art.