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The Lighthouse is Dark Between Flashes

A Solo Exhibition of Work by Liora Kaplan

February 3 – April 9, 2023

Member and Donor Private Reception: Thursday, February 2, 2023, 5:00 - 6:00 pm

Public Reception: Thursday, February 2, 2023, 6:00 - 7:30 pm

“The Lighthouse is Dark Between Flashes” is the first solo exhibition in the United States for Tel Aviv-Yafo based artist Liora Kaplan. Through the process of unearthing found ceramic vessels from her home region in Israel and combining them with new elements made from materials including wood, leather, metal, glass, and stone, Kaplan crafts towering sculptures that function as signals for the creative forces that connect us to nature, to each other and to our shared histories. Standing as pillars for Kaplan’s foundational influences in art, craft, philosophy, and music, her works become beacons that guide the viewer into her blended visions of retro-futurist construction and otherworldly contraption.  

The ideas for this body of work first emerged from a vase that the artist inherited from her father, who was an archeology enthusiast. Initially Kaplan thought that the object had a more archaic origin, but she would ultimately discover that it was not an artifact from a period long ago but was in fact an example of mid-20th century Israeli pottery. Upon further investigation, Kaplan would also discover that her father was an owner of a ceramic factory in the 1960s. This familial connection to ceramic production would eventually lead her to develop a personal and intellectual affinity for the shapes, textures, and history that informed such objects. Kaplan’s practice has now become devoted to the physical presence of the ceramic objects and the desire to transform them into talismans with transportive powers. Her work conveys a simultaneous sense of a journey to an ancient temple and a trip toward an unknown future landscape flourishing with new visionary architectonic forms.

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The title of the exhibition is derived from text written by George Kubler in his 1962 book “The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things.” Kaplan connected with Kubler’s description of actual reality as but a foggy undetermined experience between signals from different stages in time. “Actuality.” Kubler writes, “is when the lighthouse is dark between flashes: it is the instant between the ticks of the watch: it is a void interval slipping forever through time: the rupture between past and future: the gap at the poles of the revolving magnetic field, infinitesimally small but ultimately real. It is the interchronic pause when nothing is happening. It is the void between events.” 


The notion of connectivity plays a pivotal role in Kaplan’s sculptural works. Starting from the vase, “the core of each work,” as Kaplan describes it, “is creating a body which extensions could only be created as a response to the unique presence of the vase. The careful selection of these cores – the vases – leads to families of totems, figures that exist as an ensemble and yet retain their own very specific personality.” Through her ongoing series of variations and orchestrations of materials that bring different ideas and visual fragments together. Kaplan’s process becomes a type of shamanistic ritual where the vases act as muses that guide her to create the new forms.


In her book “Overlay,” writer and art historian Lucy Lippard writes about her own dual, and seemingly opposing, interests in ancient sites and contemporary art. Looking at prehistoric images and examining them with her overlays of knowledge in archeology, mythology, sociology and art, Lippard defines her “internal method”, as “that of collage – the juxtaposition of two unlike realities combined to form an unexpected new reality.” Kaplan shapes a new reality through the sculptural works created for this exhibition, writing that her aim is “to trigger the potential of human creativity and craft to generate reflections and ruminations that go beyond cultural constructions and therefore open a space filled with unforeseen associations.” Enhancing such a scenario, the exhibition is enriched by a soundscape created by the musician, producer, and string instrumentalist Ohad Elkouby, who extracted and sampled sound through physically playing the vases.


In such a multisensorial space, her totems are poetic and potent transmitters for personal histories, shrines for those who believe in new ways of thinking and being in the world. In bringing her work to KMAC, Kaplan initiates the possibility of an exchange in which the viewers from Louisville and those visiting from outside the region are called to be true protagonists.


“Liora Kaplan: The Lighthouse is Dark Between Flashes” at KMAC Contemporary Art Museum is part of a collaboration with CCA Tel Aviv-Yafo in Israel, where a sister exhibition entitled “Liora Kaplan: Rhythms of Permanent Resonance,” was presented in early 2022; both exhibitions will be followed by a monograph to be published later this year.

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Liora Kaplan (b. 1974, Herzliya; lives and works in Tel Aviv-Yafo) studied at Avni Institute of Art and Design in Tel Aviv and at the Faculty of Arts – Hamidrasha at Beit Berl College. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the CCA Tel Aviv Yafo (2022), Rozin Center  Tel Aviv (2017) and Ferrate Gallery, Tel Aviv (2013). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Ramat Hasharon Gallery (2020), Beit Ha’ir, Tel Aviv (2020), CCA Tel Aviv Yafo (2020), Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv (2019), Red House Gallery, Tel Aviv (2017), Hanut Gallery, Tel Aviv (2017), Beit Mairov Municipal Arts Center, Holon (2013 and 2016), the Farm Gallery, Holon (2015), Port Gallery, Jaffa (2015), Tiroche Auction House, Herzliya (2014), Rosenfeld Gallery, Tel Aviv (2014), Lilienblum 23, Tel Aviv (2014), Salon 96, Tel Aviv (2014), SCOPE Art Fair, Miami (2013), Gallery, New York (2013), Vitrina, Tel Aviv (2013), Florentine 45 Gallery, Tel Aviv (2012), @Gallery, New York (2011), ST-ART Residence, Jaffa (2011), Kishon Gallery, Tel Aviv (2011), NARS Gallery, New York (2010), Mika Art Gallery, Tel Aviv (2010), LOFT Barcelona (2010), Russian Academy of Arts, Moscow (2010), Art Whino Gallery, Washington D.C. (2008), among others.

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