Mend, Purl, Link, Repeat: Artist Gil Yefman in conversation with Alison Kuo, Arts Residency Manager at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP)
Artis and the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) are pleased to present Mend, Purl, Link, Repeat, a virtual talk with artist Gil Yefman in conversation with Alison Kuo, Arts Residency Manager at ISCP, on the relationships between craft media and queer identity as explored in Yefman’s conceptual and multi-layered art practice. Yefman, who is based in Israel, participated in a three-month residency at ISCP over the summer, and will also reflect on the experience of working in the context of an international residency program in New York. Yefman’s residency at ISCP was supported by Artis.
Gil Yefman creates sculptures, videos, performances, installations, and two dimensional works that are process-oriented and are often developed collaboratively. Using soft materials like felt and yarn, Yefman’s practice considers difficult histories while imagining the potential for individual and collective healing. Yefman and Kuo will discuss recent works such as Trans(A)gression (2021), a multi-sensory installation presented at The Center for Digital Art in Holon, Israel, that examines how gender is experienced as a sensation in the body. In this work, felt and knit objects that resemble internal organs and celestial bodies were installed with security cameras, loudspeakers, and microphones. The objects record movement in the gallery and emit sound when activated by human touch, bringing up sensations of surveillance and affection. Yefman and Kuo will also discuss Subtraction (2020), an ongoing body of felted works by Yefman that resemble tattoos (pictured above), and allude to violence inflicted on prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp in Weimar, Germany. Yefman developed Subtraction while in residence at ISCP, and will share insight into the research and process of working with felt.
Gil Yefman is a trans-disciplinary conceptual artist whose work aims to deconstruct and transform canonized myths from varied beliefs and traditions. By undermining structural norms, definitions, and typical portrayals of the other, Yefman explores and cherishes the intrinsic potential of the extraordinary. Yefman’s collaborative projects fuse memory, trauma and the body. Trans-generational, multi-layered relations where soft materials dissolve hard subject matters. Yefman uses archival materials as points of departure. Knitting, which is an important method in Yefman’s practice, also resembles writing. In this way, texts and contexts are like textures, suggesting alternative interpretations to dogmatic translations.
Yefman holds a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, and received the Rapaport Prize for a young artist in 2017 and the Young Artist Prize by the Israel Ministry of Culture in 2010. Select artist residency programs include ISCP in Brooklyn in 2021, Artport in Tel Aviv in 2019, Aomori Contemporary Art Center in Japan in 2015, Fountainhead in Miami in 2014, and NRW Kunststiftung and the Goethe Institute and Bronner Family in Dusseldorf in2012. Yefman’s works are part of the collections of the Rubell Family Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum in New York, and the Herzliya Museum of Art, among others. www.gilyefman.com
Alison Kuo is the Arts Residency Manager at the International Studio & Curatorial Program in Brooklyn, NY. In her own practice as a visual artist, she makes things in a space where food, performance and sculpture collide. Kuo graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas with a BA focusing in Ceramics in 2008 and got her MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in 2014. In New York she has shown her work at the Hessel Museum of Art, Cuchifritos, the Abrons Art Center, Beverly’s, and CANADA. Internationally, she's done interactive public projects in Mexico City, Bogotá, and Managua, Nicaragua. She has served on the faculty of the SVA MFA Fine Arts Program and is also an educator and an active member of the New York Chinatown arts community where she co-runs the group Sisters in Self-Defense.
The International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) supports the creative and professional development of artists and curators, and promotes exchange through residencies and public programs. Housed in a former factory in Brooklyn, with 35 light-filled work studios and two galleries, ISCP is New York’s most comprehensive international visual arts residency program, founded in 1994. ISCP organizes exhibitions, events and offsite projects, which are free and open to all, sustaining a vibrant community of contemporary art practitioners and diverse audiences. Over 1,500 artists and curators from more than 85 countries, including the United States have undertaken residencies at ISCP. www.iscp-nyc.org