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There Is a Fine Line

Vara Wallerstein

Curator: Yuval Etzioni


I love using materials that are lying around, cast out, thrown away, unwanted, cut-offs. In part, this is to do with an awareness of the need to recycle. At the same time, I
am intrigued by the fact that anything can be transformed and take on new life and
meaning in a fresh context. When working in my studio, I love to open a storage box
or rummage in a drawer, in search of a bit of tape or fabric I once found on my
travels. I’ve always stashed away bits and pieces, oddments and remnants, knowing
that in time I’d find a new use for them all.
Colour and texture, and indeed anything that has a tactile quality attract me. This may
well have to do with the fact that I grew up in Rhodesia (today’s Zimbabwe) where
this was a key element in African culture. Music, movement, rhythm and a sense of
spontaneity were all around me and became part of who I am. Beyond the vibrant
colours and the myriad sounds of an African childhood, I had to juggle British
colonial discipline at school and an unconventional German-Jewish life at home. It
wasn’t easy. Indeed, childhood could be quite a puzzle at times, as I was constantly
being pulled in different directions. Throw Israel into the mix, and the puzzle grew in
In my recent work, ordinary bottle tops, of the kind that are disposed of daily in the
recycling cages on Tel Aviv streets, became the basic material for my wire
constructions. From being plastic litter, they became a most sought-after item.
Searching for and ‘rescuing’ the tops from the prison of their recycling cages became
almost a community project. Friends kindly joined the ranks and, filled with a
remarkable energy and interest, spent hours of their precious time delving into rather
seedy recycling cages in pursuit of the treasures.
Movement, versatility and flexibility are and always have been an intrinsic part of my
work. I invite you to look for new life and vitality in the works on show. Nothing ever
remains static – there is always a degree of change. Here, change is expressed in the
slightest of movements and in the variations in colours and sizes, bringing drama and
joyfulness to new forms and identities.

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