By Daniella Ohad
Contemporary design, we have learnt on Thursday morning from Israeli designer Erez Nevi Pana, is about telling stories, about biographical narrative, and in his case, it grows from the highest level of ethical approach toward the environment, the people, and the animals living on this plant. In a private breakfast which I held at Friedman Benda in celebrating Nevi Pana’s first solo show in New York, entitled ‘Consciousness,’ he presented his work, allowing a glance deep into its content, process, and materiality. To me, this event marked a special moment, as his former teacher and mentor, witnessing the materialization of a long process into a comprehensive exhibition, where a trace of his training at the Design Academy Eindhoven is strongly present. The exhibition encompasses four groups of objects: furniture made of salt; sculptures created of asphalt; basketry woven over molded of trash; and fibers crafted of environmentally-friendly harvested silk. The common chord? The designer’s interactions with the environment and his quest for living in harmony with nature and culture. Each of the objects presented in this intriguing show manifests a long process of investigating with materials, each grew out of Nevi Pana’s fascination with environmental veganism, out of his abstaining from eating and using animal products, and finally, out of his highly ethical approach to animals. This including ‘Bleached,’ a sculpture created by deepening a wooden structure encased in loofah in the Dead Sea where it was naturally crystallized (above); ‘Wasted,’ baskets woven over molded garbage in India; woven sculptures crafted of fibers produced in the ‘peace silk’ process, which has developed upon the principles of non-violence towards silk worms. So here is a fresh and fascinating expression in contemporary design, and one that definitely marks and represents the zeitgeist. Thank you, Jennifer Olshin and Friedman Benda for making this event possible and for providing a platform for showcasing design which combines beauty with poetry. The exhibition will close on June 9th.