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Breaking of the Vessels

Suly Bornstein Wolff

Curators: Sari Paran, Vera Pilpoul


Suly is like the wizard in the fairy tale, spinning straw into gold. Colourful paper cuttings, toilet paper rolls, perfume bottle stoppers and a variety of plastics are heaped up and flood the studio to which every visit reveals and exposes another piece of her wondrous inventory.


Suly is a multidisciplinary artist: her unlimited energies drive her over a spectrum moving between making naturalistic paintings to creating handmade objects with limitless patience and Sisyphean manual labour. Her mostly largescale paintings in this exhibition feature palms and eucalyptus, represented in colourful multiple layers with a lush texture, with the play of light and shadow dancing over them.


Along with the paintings, Suly is exhibiting a series of large bowls. The touch of the artist’s hand transforms the bowls into objects of desire. Like the other objects Suly has created, they refer to issues of recycling. Some were made of toilet paper rolls torn by hand and glued in an act as complex as silversmithing onto huge concave bowls whose rounded form is a metaphor for the infinity of the universe and the cyclicity of life. Another group of bowls is formed from an overflow of “leaves” cut and sliced from her old paintings, and as in an act of conceptual art, takes on new life. The bowls have a colour scale moving between the monochrome of the paper and cardboard to bold colouration peeking out from the cut pieces of canvas laden with paint. Often her objects contract into small dimensions like ornaments covered with gold leaf or vibrant tropical colours.


The syntactical tension builds up like a metronome moving between deconstruction and construction, between whole and absent, between material and its absence. The act of recycling turns the spotlight on Suly’s high awareness an interest in the sad state of Planet Earth. She has a deep bond with ecological art reflected in her work which blends aesthetics with a social message pointing out environmental pollution and western consumerism which is never satiated. The deconstruction and reconstruction is the theme central to the current exhibition and was the catalyst for its title: “Breaking of the Vessels.”


“Breaking of the Vessels” is a kabbalistic concept describing the utter chaos prior to Creation, after which nothing returned to its proper place. A new order was formed ex nihilo, a metaphor for a world of varied, rich content. The installation Periscope conducts a dialogue between the visual arts and craft, expressing the cyclical nature of the world of consumer objects as seen through Suly’s eyes  (wood – paper – bowls), the connections between large and small, “high” and “low” art, plastic art and craft, eco-art, and “women’s art” – all are translated into well-made objects in the style of “designer objects.”

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