In their joint exhibition "At the Window", Ziva Ever- Hadani and Naomi Cassuto present their own version of the art of papercutting. Although papercutting usually focuses on decorative and aesthetic aspects of the form, both see this art as a means of expressing emotions. They share the same work structure, in which the papercut is a part of the collage work. They both also use the image of the window in many of their works.
Ziva Ever-Hadani, a resident of Jerusalem, was born in Kibbutz Negba, the eldest daughter of pioneer parents who immigrated to Israel from Poland before World War II broke. Her father, who was a beekeeper and later a teacher, planted in her the love of literature and poetry. At the age of 24, in the years preceding the Six-Day War, she left the kibbutz and moved to Jerusalem. Here she worked in various jobs, and at the same time studied Vocal Pedagogy at the Academy of Music. Later on, she worked for many years as an elementary school teacher, and in the course of this she studied painting and illustration in the Israel Museum. She became acquainted with papercutting after her retirement, with Tzipora Ne'eman and Yael Hoz.
In seemingly naive works, Ever-Hadani expresses the exaltation provided by art in general, and the Hebrew one in particular. The works were done as illustrations to texts from the Bible (Jacob's Dream), from the literature (David Grossman's The Book of Inner Grammar), from poetry (Bialik's "She was sitting at the window and "To the Bird"), from verse and song (Naomi Shemer's "Serenade for You"), from the cinema (Hitchcock's Rear Window) and even from the visual arts (a visit to a naïve art gallery). Her works evoke nostalgia for childhood, and in terms of style her illustrations are reminiscent of the harmony and simplicity that characterized the illustrations in children's books in Israel at the time. Another aspect that characterizes her work is a sense of humour, as can be seen in the two depictions of Jacob's dream, which look like entertaining circus performances. The artist's connection to music can be found in the depiction of floating musical notes in one of the works, and in a depiction of a group of birds on the background of a musical notation line in another work.
Naomi Cassuto, a resident of Jerusalem, was born in France in the city of Strasbourg. With the outbreak of World War II, her father smuggled his family to the south of France, and towards the end of the war he smuggled them to Switzerland. He himself was captured by the Germans and eventually perished in Auschwitz. At the end of the war Naomi immigrated with her mother, brother and sister to Israel. She was certified as an art teacher at the Oranim Seminar and later received her PhD in art history from the Hebrew University. For many years she worked as an art teacher to students ranging from elementary school to college, and was the art coordinator in the Education Programs Division of the Ministry of Education. She also studied papercutting with Zippora Ne'eman and continued with Yael Hoz. Her works were exhibited in Israel and around the world.
In her expressive, multi-layered works, Cassuto depicts a dangerous and disquiet world, while touching on concrete fears in her life, and those reflected in dramatic stories from the Bible. She achieves this expressiveness through the use of shades of red and black, multiple details that create a sense of unease, emphasis of facial expressions, movement and diagonals, and portrayal of predatory animals and birds with negative connotations, such as wolves and crows.
The danger which she experiences in a personal manner, she depicts in a seemingly calm moment in which her husband is browsing through a book in his room, unaware of a raging and destructive storm outside. Urban life, as she experiences it today, with accelerated construction that takes place near her home, she portrays as chaos, as shown by the depiction of a residential tower leaning slightly on its side and at its feet a pile of vehicles. A prominent place in the body of Cassuto's works is dedicated to biblical personas such as Rahab the prostitute, Elijah the Prophet, Michal daughter of Saul and Queen Jezebel, who are at the center of dramas of heroism, sacrifice, religious fanaticism, cruelty and murder. Queen Jezebel, it is interesting to note, is depicted here empathetically, as a tragic figure cruelly and unjustly disposed of her high status.
For further information, please contact the artists:
Ziva Ever-Hadani, Tel. 02-6762533, mobile 054-5351180
Naomi Cassuto, Tel. 02-6733438, mobile 052-6733438