“In a way, the earth became my town and I roamed – digitally and physically on the move – working with the flow of materials beyond borders, adjusting and joining all together at a meeting point in my mind.”
– Erez Nevi Pana.
Friedman Benda is pleased to present Consciousness– the first exhibition in the US by Israeli designer Erez Nevi Pana, opening May 3rd.
For his solo show, Nevi Pana will present three series made from salt, asphalt and plant fibers that examine the impact of human interaction with the environment. By interrupting, enhancing or combining natural processes, he creates objects with the intention to reveal life forces and dormant energies and conjure what he calls “intangible blueprints of our consciousness.”
The centerpiece of the exhibition, Bleached, is the product of a five-year investigation of the material applications of salt. Motivated by the devastating consequences of mineral extraction in the Dead Sea, with this series Nevi Pana imagines a possible constructive outcome from humanity’s interference with nature. For Bleached, Nevi Pana submerges wooden structures encased in loofah into the Dead Sea—leaving them to crystallize like coral formations. Transforming these minerals into otherworldly, architectural forms, Nevi Pana comments on the convergence of the organic with the ornate.
Inspired by Nevi Pana’s studies in India, a second experimental trajectory is informed by the grit of New Delhi’s streets. Wasted explores the principles of balance and harmony in Hinduism as he grapples with the global environmental crises. With this series, Nevi Pana tests, observes and acknowledges his own consumption by transforming discarded trash into an immaginative series of intricately woven baskets. Coated with a dark glaze created by Nevi Pana from the fibrous by-product of cashew harvesting, these works recontextualize the aesthetic of local materials and the essence of traditional craft methods.
A third series, Unravel, consists of elaborate Soumak banners of knotted twill. Through Unravel, Nevi Pana expresses the principle of ahimsa, a cardinal virtue of eastern philosophy with the premise of nonviolence toward all living beings. While traditional silk manufacturing techniques involve boiling the silkworms alive inside of their cocoons, Ahimsa Silks (or ‘peace silks’) harvest the yarn after the pupae’s metamorphosis occurs collecting the cocoons once vacant to allow them to live on as moths. Nevi Pana then unravels the cocoons as well as the straw baskets he takes from inhumane silk manufacturers, uniting them into one. His fascination with textiles was passed down from his Middle Eastern ancestors, who were yarn traders within the Indian village of NabiPanah (the origin of Nevi Pana’s surname).
About Erez Nevi Pana
A vegan and passionate animal rights activist, Erez Nevi Pana’s practice is based on investigating natural phenomena and environmental processes through material exploration.
Born in Israel in 1983, Nevi Pana earned his Bachelor of Arts in Design from the Holon Institute of Technology in 2011 and Master of Arts from the Design Academy of Eindhoven in 2014, where his thesis focused on the recrystallization of salt. After graduation, Nevi Pana formed La Terrasse in Eindhoven as a platform for designers, artists, writers and thinkers in 2015.
Nevi Pana’s investigations of salt has developed into a long-term research project; he has been working with salt in the Dead Sea for the past eight years—investigating the devastating imbalance of an over-abundance of salt caused by the industrialization and mineral extraction of the region. The culmination of this research is a body of work entitled Bleached (2018), where Pana submerges wooden structures encased in loofah into the Dead Sea to absorb the wasted salt, which then crystallize like coral formations over time.
His works have been exhibited at museums worldwide, and have recently been included in the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition (2018-19) at the Design Museum in London, and in Nature: Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial (2019-2020) co-organized by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York and the Cube Design Museum in Kerkrade, the Netherlands.
Nevi Pana’s works have been acquired in the permanent collections such as The Design Museum Holon in Israel, and the FRAC Grand Large – Hauts-de-France in Dunkerque. In 2020, Nevi Pana created Crystalline, the world’s first commissioned work of salt-based architecture, which will debut in the National Gallery of Victoria’s NGV Triennial (2020-2021) in Melbourne and enter the museum’s permanent collection.
He is currently researching the topic of Vegan Design as a doctoral candidate at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria.
Nevi Pana is based in Tel Aviv, Israel.