We had the good fortune of connecting with Hila Laviv and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hila, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Hi! I am a visual artist based in Tel Aviv. I live with my partner, our two children and our dog. I think the relationship between life and art is a very flexible one, meaning there is no balance but rather fluidity. I am always an artist, all the time and everywhere.
Being an artist is a choice you make every day of your life. This was especially true for me as a young artist, and as a new mother.
Regarding the space, as I share my living space with my family, I keep a clear distinction between my studio and my home. A trial running a studio at home was a complete failure, but of course work is taken back home and home is brought into the studio.
Since having kids I have less time and more work, so I think I was forced to become faster and more efficient, both in life and art.
Art helps me to balance my obsessive nature and hypersensitivity, as well as other strange traits I have. In order to be a good artist I believe you have to be very honest, generous, a good listener and a good observer, and most important to have an excess of imagination and empathy. I can empathize with everything, even a chair or a leaf.
In the last few years, I started using my qualities as an artist in my personal life, especially with preparing for the death of my beloved grandmother. My grandmother died this April. My solo exhibition opened this August at Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod. It is entitled “To Forget Beautiful Things”. And it is, to this day, my most unbalanced life-art project.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My works come out of a desperate pursuit of ghosts. And they deal with the question of the reconstruction or re-enactment of a world that has disappeared with a radical use of archival materials that are recreated as a “Matryushka” of archival relics. The range of works I do include video works, meticulously arranged collages and large-scale installations in various spaces: interior and exterior, a white cube or an abandoned house.
I have memories from places I have never visited, which were given to me through my grandmother and the objects in her house. This transformative experience leads me to wish for a seemingly impossible collaboration, between the present and the past that carries on the story while also altering it. My project is in part an attempt to make what might otherwise disappear from the world endure.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There is so much great food in Tel Aviv, we would definitely eat a lot. So bring your comfy pants on this trip. The best street food is a given. Let’s start with the most genius choice, Sabich and the most famous one- Falafel or maybe Hummus.
Levinsky Market is near my studio and we would have to visit and eat the best bean soup there (Café Kaymak), the best bourek (Haburekas Shel Ima), the best Persian food (Gorme Sabzi) and the best pizza (Lila Pizza).
We would also visit the restaurants of two great women-chefs: Fifis Asian Food- an eternal pop-up, by Chef Ifat Tvoua, and Oasis by Chef Rima Olvera.
We would go to see the sunset on the beach every day. We would check out some galleries in-between eating. And last would be a day trip to Ein Harod Kibbutz, to visit the most beautiful museum in Israel- Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod. It is an architectural masterpiece by Shmuel Bickels built in the 1940s. After the museum, if it’s possible we were still hungry, we would go to eat at the incredible Rutenberg restaurant by very talented Hila and Yizhar Sahar, serving seasonal local cuisine.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My grandmother Noni (Charlotte Esther) Warburg-Shalmon, and the lineage of women she carries. German and Swedish, idealistic, and feminist women who have been involved in education. They are my inspiration in their free spirit and in the handicraft tradition of do-it-yourself from scraps of everyday bits and pieces, and other simple and inexpensive materials.
Dana Lev Levnat, Hila Laviv, Youval Hai