MIMESIS – The blurred line between nature and man

Long in preparation, the fascinating exhibition of Israeli artist Moran Kliger’s work at the South African Jewish Museum opened in December last year. While the artist planned to be here for the opening, the events of October 7th played havoc with her travel plans. She was, however, finally able to visit Cape Town during February.  

Well worth viewing, this is an exhibition making its mark on the local art scene. A graduate of Israel’s Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, and the holder of a Masters in Fine Art, Kliger works from her studio in Tel Aviv. Following her mother’s advice that “Art doesn’t pay”, she began her working life as a graphic artist but soon realised that her passion lay in fine art. Proving her mother’s advice wrong, she has enjoyed a successful career as a fine artist, exhibiting in numerous countries. Her talent was recognised in 2015 when she was selected for a full scholarship from the Fountainhead Residency Program in Miami.

The solo exhibition currently on at the Museum is called Mimesis – a focus on the tensions between the civilised and wild elements of the human psyche. “I deal in my works with the transition between culture and nature,” Moran explains. 

There are two elements to the exhibition: the landscapes and the primates. “I have framed the landscape works in circular frames,” she says, “because they serve as windows that give the viewer a glimpse into an ancient world. In the detail of each landscape, you can pick up hints of impending disaster but also signs of hope and renewal.” In essence, these works reflect the cycle of life and death, and the unrelenting nature of change.

As for the primate works – housed separately from the landscapes – these are a series of drawings examining the meeting point between man and ape. “With these drawings, I am challenging our conventional notion of the hierarchies of the natural world. The drawings are very large, and so the human viewer, being smaller in comparison, feels weaker than the primate. Humans are usually at the top of the evolutionary pyramid, but we now feel small in front of these creatures.”

One is certainly struck by the size of the works, and many a visitor to the exhibition has wondered how the artist is able to produce works of this size. “I have a large studio,” Moran explains, “so I work on the floor, which gives me sight of the entire work at any time.” 

A number of techniques are employed during the long process involved in producing these works. According to Moran, “The large-scale format of my works means that what I produce is labour-intensive. There is a great deal of small detail, and the detail has to be repeated to fill the large image I am creating. I work with different techniques such as engraving on painted paper, ink on paper, burning on plywood, screen print, digital print, pastel, pencils, watercolour and more… The technique I choose to work with is always related to the subject or the emotion I want to convey to the viewer. With this exhibition, I wanted to convey a realistic feeling of nature and tangible creatures, so I chose to use pencils that allow a high level of precision.”

Make your way to the SA Jewish Museum soon to view this exhibition – and stand in awe of the giant works and the fascinating techniques employed by the artist.

• Published in the March 2024 issue – Click here to start reading.

• To advertise in the Cape Jewish Chronicle and on this website – kindly contact Lynette Roodt on 021 464 6736 or email advertising@ctjc.co.za. For more information and advertising rate card click here.

• Sign up for our newsletter and never miss another issue.

• Please support the Cape Jewish Chronicle with a voluntary Subscription for 2024. For payment info click here.

• Visit our Portal to the Jewish Community to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites.

Follow the Cape Jewish Chronicle: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here