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Artist Aviv Grinberg talks about the origins of his practice and beyond

Named one of Forbes' 30-under-30 most influential individuals in Israel, Grinberg examines his internal and external experiences through painting and sculpture.

by Shraddha NairPublished on : Feb 06, 2021

Named one of Israel’s most influential individuals under 30 by Forbes in 2020, Aviv Grinberg has an artistic practice that swims in the realm of figurative and abstract aesthetics which are both relatable and accessible to younger generations. Grinberg’s practice is particularly intriguing for a viewer as he creates two- and three-dimensional works parallel to each other, the juxtaposition of which informs us of his external and internal worlds.

Getting On My Nerves (2020) by Aviv Grinberg | Aviv Grinberg | STIRworld
Getting On My Nerves (2020) by Aviv Grinberg Image: Aviv Grinberg

The artist’s journey began from a deeply personal space, with painting offering him his first medium of expression. Grinberg tells us, “As a child I would watch my sister draw. At a young age, her mental state deteriorated and she stopped painting. When she stopped, I started painting portraits like she used to. This was the start of my artistic journey. During my studies my portraits grew harsh and complex, filled with self-criticism and emotions I wasn’t ready to process. So, I started searching for different solutions in order to translate elements from the portraits into sculptural acts that distance themselves from the two-dimensional world and the commitment towards the images I dealt with at the time."

Internal Auditor (2020) by Aviv Grinberg at University of Haifa | Aviv Grinberg | STIRworld
Internal Auditor (2020) by Aviv Grinberg at University of Haifa Image: Aviv Grinberg

While his paintings offer us insight into his personal experiences and his internal world, Grinberg’s installations articulate his dialogue with the world outside which make up his external world. He says, “Alongside painting, the materials I use come from the world of cleaning and maintenance products, which I started collecting from the streets and stores in my neighborhood during my studies. I live in a central yet neglected area in Tel Aviv, and working with those materials was my way of creating a dialogue with my personal and local surroundings. My sculptural acts allow me to be more minimalistic, cynical and liberated as compared to the taxing process of painting. Placing my paintings and sculptures together forms a dialogue between them, enriching each side with the unique qualities of the other." Grinberg’s sculptural works serve as an abstraction of his figurative works, an expansion on the conceptual plane it holds.

Wall To Wall Tubes (2016) comprises PVC tubes filled with cleaning liquid | Aviv Grinberg | STIRworld
Wall To Wall Tubes (2016) comprises PVC tubes filled with cleaning liquid Image: Aviv Grinberg

The Tel Aviv based artist has, over the recent years, begun to further his investigation into the ritualistic process of cleaning. Grinberg notes that while it is a daily practice in our lives, we never really remove dirt and dust from our world - we just move it somewhere else. This might be placed in conjunction with the way we ritualistically tidy our internal worlds as well. Do our discarded thoughts stay in the back of our minds or do we really thoroughly process and clear them up? In a similar vein, when looking outside of ourselves we also see the overwhelming issue of waste in our world. The natural world wastes nothing, making the human race an unpleasant exception as we create new landscapes with nothing but garbage. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a testament to our wasteful lifestyle. Grinberg’s Employees Only (2019) brings this sentiment to the forefront. The installations remind the viewer of Damien Hirst’s Medicine Cabinet series which, while different in ideological approach, recalls a similar clinical and minimalist aesthetic. Grinberg’s work is almost too visually pleasing, sometimes reading more as art-deco. However, on closer inspection one sees it is layered with emotional processes and personal experience, laced with the narrative of his own worldview.

Woven Fresh Paint (2016) is a sculptural abstraction of Grinberg’s paintings, borrowing motifs and colours| Aviv Grinberg | STIRworld
Woven Fresh Paint (2016) is a sculptural abstraction of Grinberg’s paintings, borrowing motifs and colours Image: Aviv Grinberg

Grinberg shares, “My studio practice also includes site specific works and commercial collaborations. Each project creates its own guidelines, creating a sort of artistic exercise for me to follow. For example, a column in the middle of the room will inspire me and lead me to creative solutions and processes. The variety of materials I work with are symbols that I collect in order to describe personal experiences or depict my views on society. For instance, cleaning products remind me of the cleaning drills I would run during my army service as a military guard, or the habits of my family and myself to sweep issues under the rug and never mention the things that hurt”. 

Employees Only (2019) at Zumu, The Travelling Museum | Aviv Grinberg | STIRworld
Employees Only (2019) at Zumu, The Travelling Museum Image: Yair Meyuhas

The artist continues saying, “Nowadays, I work with scraps and waste left over by the factories that produce the containers for the cleaning liquids. Discovering the scraps shed a new light on my works, putting my visual language of cleaning into a surreal and distorted fantasy."

Grinberg concludes, “My art is a means of healing and processing my emotions and personal history. I believe that this is what my entire practice revolves around. The discoveries I uncover in each working process guide me towards the development of the next one."

A self portrait | Aviv Grinberg | STIRworld
A self portrait Image: Aviv Grinberg

The artist participated in Facebook Artist in Residence Program and created an artist workshop for Microsoft as part of the OFFF TLV design festival.

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