We would like to invite you to take a closer look at the various pieces in the exhibition, and expand on the text posted on the gallery walls with Hayon's stories, sources of inspiration, and the creative process.
Dr. Shulamit Katzman Gallery
Face Mirror (on the external wall at the entrance to the Gallery)
"I see masks as a storyteller or a mirror, if you will, of history. Every civilization, from the ancient peoples of the Middle East to the Aztecs in the Americas, has utilized masks, and each one tells a story. I became keen to create a mask representing characters from my own cosmos, one that combines fantasy, a certain playfulness, with craft and quality. I decided to use mirror together with stone to create different textures and feelings, as if the mask were an old mosaic. Some parts have stone, while other parts show a reflection onto ourselves. Together, the two characteristics create an imaginary composition. They become mysterious objects, masks that tell a story from my own fantasy civilization".
[Face Mirror | An original new work donated to the Museum Collection, courtesy of Caesarstone | Photograph: Liah Chesnokov]
The Green Chicken
"What is the first chair a child sits on? A rocking horse. I remember that as a child I also rode a rocking horse. One day I dreamed I was riding a green chicken. I asked myself what would happen if children grew up with memories of a rocking chicken rather than a rocking horse. What kind of people would they become? The chicken, which was commissioned by Shanghai gallerist Pearl Lam, also references traditional Chinese roof decorations in which the last animal almost always rides a chicken".
[The Green Chicken | Photograph: Ben Kelmer]
"This chess set, which was created for the London Design Festival, is inspired by a typical London setting and atmosphere. Images like the Royal Guard, the royal family's horses, the decorated uniforms, and the buildings around Trafalgar Square inspired both the design of the chess pieces and their decoration. The decorations are replete with symbols and fictional scenes, including a horse shedding a tear and a king slipping on a banana skin. The falling king is a testimony to the defeat of the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Trafalgar and the beginning of the decline of the empire. The fact that I, a Spaniard, chose to present the battle in which Spain was defeated raised a considerable number of eyebrows. The move on the chessboard in the exhibition is Boris Gelfand's winning move in 2015".
[The Tournament | Photograph: Ben Kelmer]
"I draw everywhere and continually, my earliest sketchbooks date from 1997 and resemble agendas or diaries in which every scrap of space has been occupied by glued-in photos of friends and all kinds of pictures and memorabilia, a cacophony of ideas, bizarre figures, jokes, stories and loose ends, events and fantasies. Subsequent sketchbooks have a larger format in which the drawings, now clearer and more elaborate, are grouped around a concrete project. There are more than a hundred of these sketchbooks, and only a few dozen of them are being shown here. My wife likes to say that if I could that's all I would do - sketch all the time".
[Close-up of one of Hayon's sketchbooks on show in the Lower Gallery | Photograph: Itay Benit]
Choemon Gama Collection
"The Japanese porcelain pieces were created using an ancient Japanese technique that usually takes about three weeks to paint each piece. The pieces include ancient Japanese symbols and represent different types of wood, and especially their durability. I designed the pieces bearing in mind the story they tell. At the start of my research I discovered a certain star or flower pattern on the pieces. I asked the managers of the Japanese company what these marks meant. They explained that in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Japan there was a flag on every house with the symbol of the firefighting company charged with putting out fires in that house. There were many fires in those days because most of the houses were made of wood, and had to be marked for people to know who was responsible for putting out the fire. Over time, these marks came to be symbols of the entire area, and the pieces created at the time bore the symbols of these areas. That's how the symbol evolved. This story encouraged me to invent a story of my own about a bird that meets humans on its way, which I incorporated into the pieces".
[Choemon Gama Collection | Photograph: Itay Benit]
[A vase from the Choemon Gama Collection | Photograph: Itay Benit]
Bird of Hope
"The bird stops its flight, stands on its two legs, and gazes towards the horizon. For me the bird symbolizes an optimistic view of the future. It was created at a time when life in Spain, as well as other places, was difficult and despairing, and comes to symbolize hope".
[Bird of Hope | Photograph: courtesy of the Groninger Museum]
Figurine Series for Lladró
"This series reflects my interest in long-forgotten products and techniques. No one today wants to collect figurines, although for many long years they decorated a great many homes. I recreate this aesthetic and adapt it to the twenty-first century. The figurines represent different time periods in a person's life - childhood, falling in love, and family. But in order to adapt them to the twenty-first century I designed a world around them, I added shoes, a chair to sit on, and a lamp, all of which are products I have designed for various companies and which are sold in stores. I feel that this series is a little bit me. I am the child riding the green chicken. The woman in the family portrait looks like the women I love, the man is wearing shoes I designed, and the child is playing with toys I created, and like my own son, he is more interested in the toy than in his father".
[From the right side: the figurine series designed by Hayon for Lladró | Photograph: Itay Benit]
[Family Portrait | Photograph: courtesy of Hayon Studio]
"The American Chateau series was a joint project with my wife, and consists of photos and objects in which icons of American culture, such as hotdogs, doughnuts, and big cars are presented in a slightly absurd manner. The whole concept of American Chateau represents how Europeans view America. I think the American aesthetic is an antithesis of classic culture. It's excessive. In European eyes American culture is a young culture that's trying to appropriate all sorts of values for itself.
[American Chateau | Created in conjunction with Nienke Klunder | Photograph: Ben Kelmer]
"For example, the diva on horseback - Holly on Caramel Baseball Table. Every culture has its own diva; the French have Jeanne d'Arc. The American diva, too, is larger than life, but her silicone bosoms are enormous, her hair hides her face, blurs her identity, and she is riding a noble steed whose hooves are stuck in garbage and debris, products of an excessive consumer culture - cellphones, soda cans, and plastic bags".
[Holly on Caramel Baseball Table | Photograph: Ben Kelmer]
New York is Miami
"The silhouette of the cabinet is of the New York skyline, but the colors are taken from the architecture in Miami, and this too is a kind of critique of the chateaux people build in the USA, emptying them of any real content, and painting them in childish colors. The art deco architecture with its pastel colors in Miami and the New York skyscrapers provided the inspiration for the cabinet". And in there is also a table in the shape of a stretch limo, where the owner can use the 'trunk' to store cutlery.
[New York is Miami | Photograph: Itay Benit]
"The table is shaped like a limousine and made from mahogany that underwent a six-month drying period. But in the trunk there's room to store cutlery. And the entire table rests on one of the most well-known American symbols - McDonald's. The high quality of the materials, the perfect finish, and the real functional value of these objects reinforce the dimension of absurdity. After all, who can sit and rock peacefully on his Rocking Hot Dog, or who can sit down to eat at the Limousine Table without a at least a little self-humor?"
[Limousine Table | Photograph: Itay Benit]
Rocking Hot Dog
"This piece represents fast food. It was made with a company that manufactures racecars and it's very high quality - even the saddle was custom stitched. The irony is that all this work was done on a product that no one actually uses. Even the colors, which don't come from the world of food, create a dissonance between the work and what it represents. The hot dog leans on a crutch that features extensively in Salvador Dali's work, but whereas there it provides support for a fluid, insecure reality, here it breaks movement".
[Rocking Hot Dog | Photograph: Rafi Delouya]
"The plates on the wall combine multiple motifs taken from American culture - cowboy hat, sheriff's star, and monster trucks driving over smaller vehicles. They also feature pieces I created for this exhibition, such as the hot dog, and so forth".
"Every culture has its own mask, and a variety of masks can be found in different cultures. I found it interesting to ponder what are the masks of the culture I live in; if these masks are discovered in three-hundred years or so, will people think they belong to some kind of civilization? The inspiration for the masks comes from my own world of imagination - a bit zany, a bit bird-like, a bit Mexican. They're unique and I always dread what would happen if they broke, since they cannot be replaced. A mask is like a mirror that conceals you but also reveals you. They express my love of costume, the concealment inherent in dressing up on the one hand, and making you stand out on the other".
[Masks | Photograph: Ben Kelmer]
Mediterranean Digital Baroque
"If I look back, this was my breakthrough. I was working at Fabrica at the time, as a research manager, in the framework of which I curated an exhibition at the David Gill Gallery. One of the gallery employees came to my home to pick up a particular item and saw the cactus I'd created in my free time. He asked if he could take it and show it at the gallery. David Gill saw the cactus, liked it, and offered me a solo exhibition at his gallery. I decided to invest everything in it; I took out loans and did everything I could during that period to create this installation. The media was quick to express an interest in it. One journalist asked me what the installation was called, and I had to invent a name on the spot - it's baroque, I told her, it's Mediterranean, the word 'digital' came up in a completely different context, but the name was there: Mediterranean Digital Baroque. To this day people ask me what's digital about it, and I don't know what to tell them".
[Mediterranean Digital Baroque | Photograph: Ben Kelmer]