Sculptor Svika Altman's solo show at the GH Givat Haviva Art Gallery sums up years of sculpture and research in material and spirit, and over four years of flying in the realm of consciousness.
The exhibition creates a sculptural space in a wide range of materials, most of them heavy, which surprisingly create an airy space between them. The materials involved (basalt, iron, marble, stone, glass, industrial wood, tin, aluminum, sand, paper, writing) have physical, specific and spiritual weight. The sculpture materials, from the heaviest to the lightest, create unwritten poetry: for the air, the wind and flying in its various forms: aviation, circular, vertical and horizontal flight, diving, gliding and soaring. Between the lines, Altman draws one continuous line connecting matter and spirit.
Svika Altman's father worked for Israel Aerospace Industries for many years. Svika himself has an inexplicable fear of birds. Here he finds himself sculpting them repeatedly in different materials and relationships. He sketches out their - our - flight options.
Altman works in close interplay with an assortment of sources, including Judaism as a cultural and spiritual way of life he explores in his personal life; the wisdom of Rumi, considered to be the finest Sufi poet and thinker, through which he practices a meditative Sufi dance; and the groundbreaking 1970 book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, By Richard Bach, with Russell Munson's unforgettable photographs.
For entire generations this book was a shining example of the power of thought to influence the physical world we live in, as well as the ability of the seagull within each of us to fly. It was also a milestone in the perception of personal ability to rise beyond the conformist tendencies of a flock, group or society, and to choose otherwise.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull accompanied Svika and then the two of us in our discussions throughout the process of creating the exhibition. Birds use movement to live. Visionaries use it to evolve. They are the ones who go out of the ordinary, who see far, beyond the imaginable. They do this through the body while practicing flight, a practice based on movement. The movement motif is the one that allows them to move forward and move on. Being part of the physical world, such practice is considerable and Sisyphean. The classic sculpture medium is essentially the exact opposite of movement. Yet it is in that same Sisyphean manner that Svika Altman works and thinks.
For Altman, the concept of the human being as the creator who chooses the degree of his/her development and is not a victim of circumstance, and the personal ability of each one of us to create reality, comes from the most basic place: he carves in stone and iron, bends and cuts, chisels and engraves. The creative process is accompanied by tremendous physical effort, with heavy tools, but it does not stop there. It is complemented by a refined process that treats the piece in many ways as a jewel.
With each of these sources, he dances a long and deep dance, alive with joy and faith.
Svika Altman is a Givat Haviva man. He worked here, made sculptures, taught sculpture. He is an example of the possibility of the simultaneous existence of a variety of opinions in one space. His work, One, a video art that is an exceptional piece in the sculptural space, manifests his belief in the coexistence of all religions.
“The gull sees farthest who flies highest.”
(Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull)
Anat Lidror, Curator