Leading architect juxtaposes his latest creation against an unexpected backdrop
Asaf Gottesman's personal fascination with Israeli contemporary art has driven him and his firm to be the leaders in architectural design for creating innovative spaces to showcase works of art.
Born in Tel Aviv, but raised in various locations around the world, Gottesman’s background has informed his work and what he describes as a “curiosity, optimism and a fundamental belief that if I work hard and remained focused I would succeed.”
It is Gottesman’s interest in art that has not only influenced his work on art galleries, but has also impacted most of his projects, reinforcing his ability to separate between the essential marketing and presentation expected by his clients, from what might be deemed as superfluous.
When asked about the importance of the overall impact of space to showcase art Gottesman explains that “art in itself is non-existent. It is how it is perceived that determines its qualities and this renders the context critical. There is not necessarily a singular solution to how art should be displayed but I believe that as a general rule art galleries should enhance the impact of what is displayed… Perhaps it will be easier to understand if I use sound as a metaphor. In the same way that acoustics contribute to a piece of music so an art gallery must have its own resonance.”
And this is perhaps why Gottesman-Szmelcman’s latest physical space, Gordon Gallery, is a 165-square meter contemporary art space which was transformed from the ruins of a warehouse on the edge of the city. This new venue showcases established and up-and-coming names from the local and international art world to a wider and diverse crowd, and was created by the project's principal architect Ami Szmelcman, alongside architect Noa Maliar.
The decision to construct the new Gordon Gallery may seem unlikely due to the South Tel Aviv neighborhood’s reputation more for crime than high-end art, but the location enabled them to build a gallery according to their own specifications as opposed to moving into an existing space.
For Gottesman “art is a source of pleasure with aesthetic aspects but more importantly a window to a richer perception of the world.”
In the case of Israel, he explains that his relationships with many artists are more intimate.
“I find the quality of art created by Israeli artists particularly impressive. Being an Israeli artist is not easy. The local market is extremely limited yet in spite of the challenges some of what is created here is extremely relevant and inspiring,” he says.
In Israel, in the cultural/public domain Gottesman has several projects that are in the planning stage or in the process of being realized; The Rubin Museum in Bialik Street, ongoing work for IDC Herzliya, The Lorry Lokey Management Building at the University of Tel-Aviv, as well as, a new solarium at the Dead Sea.
Different layers of design and thinking go into the creation of art galleries and in the case of the Gordon Gallery there were questions as to how this new entity in a run-down industrial zone should respond to its surroundings, including the impact the space will have on the street? The firm has maintained respect to the industrial landscape of the South Tel Aviv neighborhood, the gallery's requirements and the carpentry workshops on Hapelech Street.
The firm's objective in the design of the new Gordon Gallery was to set the stage for the unexpected; to enhance the senses not through the introduction of noise but through the silence of light and shade.
Gordon Gallery is owned and managed by a unique individual with a particularly keen sense of perception. He is finely tuned to his instincts and emotions and this exactitude was extremely important in determining the nature of the space and its relationship to its surroundings.
Lotte Beilin is a culture correspondent at i24NEWS
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