Eti Jacobi and Avi Sabah are the winners of the 2022 Rappaport Prize
Eti Jacobi, who graduated from the Fine Arts Department where she currently teaches, received the 2022 Rappaport Prize for an Established Israeli Artist, and Avi Sabah, the Fine Arts Department’s graduate and lecturer received the 2022 Rappaport Prize for a Young Promising Israeli Artist.
Eti Jacobi studied art at Bezalel Fine Arts Department as well as classics and philosophy at Tel Aviv University. She has been exhibiting her work in solo and group exhibitions since 1981. Jacobi lives and works in Tel Aviv, and teaches at HaMidrasha Faculty of Arts – Beit Berl College and at Bezalel Academy for Arts and Design, Jerusalem. She received various awards and her paintings are included in private collections as well as the collections of the Tel Aviv Museum and the Israel Museum.
From the judges’ reasoning:
“In an age where the flow of digital images veils the visible experience, Eti Jacobi adhered to painting as a realm of action and presence. Over four decades, her works have been organized in series that range from figurative to abstract painting and maintain a deep connection to the history of classical Western painting. Her early paintings featured virtuosic and fresh images that marry characters from the world of Walt Disney animation with Gustave Dore’s illustrations of Bible stories. Over the years, this space of searching for a personal feminine voice in relation to painting formulations have become a mature and inspiring channel of devotion to the inner truth of painting. One prominent series in her recent work is the “black paintings,” where images that are a part of the artist's personal vocabulary such as monkeys, oranges and skulls emerge from deep black darkness. Alongside these, Jacobi also develops a cycle of large and bright paintings that almost miraculously capture the blinding, radiant, flickering light – seemingly an abstract painting but in fact a realistic, faithful depiction of light and air. This effect is the outcome of physical action and a skilled painting practice. Jacobi has a significant presence as a teacher who offers validation to painting today.”
Avi Sabah graduated with a Bachelor's Degree (with hon.) from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and since 2006 has been teaching at the academy. He co-founded Barbur Gallery in Jerusalem, was a member of the music group “The Same World Trio” with artists Gabi Kricheli and the late Pesach Slabosky. His paintings and sculptures have been featured in solo and group exhibitions since 2005. He received various awards, including the Osnat Mozes Prize and the Minister Prize by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. His works are included in private collections and the collection of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
From the judges’ reasoning:
“Avi Sabah’s alchemical work is an ongoing search for the philosopher’s stone, a refined formula of material, form, and essence. His oeuvre is anchored in work on paper and its derivatives, forming a dialog with traditions and at the same time deviating from accepted practices. His work is influenced and driven by memory and reactions between materials, and by the meeting of physical materials with mental materials. At times his painting takes on a third dimension, spreading across the space. Sabah’s painting materials are diverse and intensive – tar, scorched pages, copper, torn jeans, face oil and so on. In recent years, his practice has shifted from bold and expressive bodies of work to drawing on paper, in small formats and traditional techniques like charcoal drawing or watercolors. Sabah does not comply with the dictates of the time and place, with what is expected of “contemporary art.” His work is activated by internal visions, a world of symbols and mythologies, spectacles of creation and apocalypse, chaos, cosmic deluge or calm water. The materiality which is so central to his practice has been converted in his mature series, where he uses water gathered from morning dew collected on stems and leaves or condensed fog in his watercolor paintings. The intensities and honesty are present in his work from its nascence and establish his prolific and enigmatic magic.”