“Collage Gives Me the Opportunity to Play Without Effort: Rotem Amizur in Interview with Hagit Peleg Rotem” (in Hebrew), Portfolio Magazine, February 15, 2023

Ofir Hovav, “Rotem Amizur: A Mesmerizing Afternoon in a Centuries-Old House in Greece”(in Hebrew), Haaretz, February 14, 2023 

“Rotem Amizur and Gus Hoffman in conversation with Misa Potang”Artist talk hosted by Space Scribbles; Online Art Blog based in Pennsylvania (in English), June 30, 2022

Gilad Meltzer “Without Bravery” Article in “Haaretz” newspaper on the show “Artist Meets Testimony” (in Hebrew), April 22, 2022

“To Start with a Harmony”, Artist Talk hosted by Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, Arkansas (English, 54 min) via zoom, April 8, 2022

“Limitations as a Door to Infinity,” Artist Talk hosted by Black Pond Studio, Massachusetts (English 38 min), via zoom, October 30, 2021

Meet Rotem Amizur, Painter and Collage Artist ,” ShoutOut Miami Magazine, June 8, 2021

“Organizing Life with Art at Its Center,” Podcast by Polina At, Conversations on Painting (Hebrew 48 min), March 10, 2021

“Painting as a door to Infinity: Rotem Amizur in Interview with Hagit Peleg Rotem”(in Hebrew), Portfolio Magazine, March 11, 2021

“Rock, Paper, Scissors: Rotem Amizur in Interview with Hagit Peleg Rotem” (in Hebrew), Portfolio Magazine, March 22, 2019

Rotem Amizur: The Flatland
Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, 2023

Curator: Iddo Markus

The Flatland is a monumental project that began with Rotem Amizur’s chance encounter with a small and faded reproduction of part of The Triumphs of Caesar (1484–92) [fig. 1] – a famous painting by the Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna (ca. 1431–1506). The artist chose that reproduction instantly, without much consideration, and started responding to the centuries-old painting the same day. She producedcountless interpretations of the painting’s structure, with strong and vibrating colors, in a mixed technique of painting and collage.

Amizur recounts that the reproduction, like any inspiring object, spurred her into action. Her project does not seek to explore the painting, nor does it seek to imitate or copy it, but to reveal its underlying themes and construct a different melody from them. She searched for the roots of that painting, and from them sought to produce original interpretations that, on occasion, venture far beyond the initial image. Mantegna’s painting consists of nine panels that depict a long triumphal procession of the spoils of war: animals, sculptures, flags and countless details, figures and incidents that are difficult for the eye to take in. One of these panels, measuring 268x278 cm, is the source of inspiration for Amizur’s project. The war booty serves as her repository of images, and by reassembling the images she also deconstructs the original meaning of the painting that inspired her. In formalistic and repetitive fashion, she highlights the hierarchy in the composition before her – a work process that dictates a visual order of priorities: what is important and what is not, what must remain and what can be changed or shifted.

Like other artists of his time, Mantegna experimented with perspective – for example, by lowering the horizon to heighten the effect of monumentality. His figures, often appearing as though made of stone, highlight his fundamentally sculptural approach. Such is also the case in the reproduction in question: the procession marches right on the lower border of the canvas, enhancing the illusion that it is doing so here, in our own world; a triumphal march on an endless stage. Delving into only one panel of the mural, Amizur creates her own procession by replicating this fragment and constructs an entire sentence from a deficient vocabulary.

In the broken dialogue that is unique to her, Amizur articulates a new hybrid language, one between painting and collage. This choice is founded on a variety of artistic traditions – from the later work of Henri Matisse to Richard Diebenkorn. At the same time, she draws inspiration from quilting and textile techniques. With all that, she gives herself free rein to improvise. Her work, like that of many contemporary painters, has an immediate and frenetic quality to it, and she does not hide the process of how it is made: Thousands of tiny holes in the pieces of paper that make up the collages attest to the changes they underwent in the creative process – a kind of map documenting the movement of her hands as they created and changed, in their attempt to cast an anchor. In that process, the papers – cut into shapes of various sizes – are placed on top of each other, attached to the surface with hundreds of pins before being glued to it. This technique allows for dramatic changes in composition, by moving the forms and re-observing the various permutations. The artist forms one shape, and then another – like a Rubik’s Cube that has been miraculously folded up and laid out anew, or an origami sculpture that has ballooned to gigantic proportions. The material – paper – is characterized by lightness, and so, too, is Amizur’s paper creation. At the same time, its sheer size gives it heft, as does its “weighty” subject and the complexity of the composition.

The genre of historical painting – which for centuries was the leading genre in Europe – is transformed in Amizur’s hands into an intense and explosive formalist game, in which painterly elements and values prevail over the subject. The culmination of the project, on view here, is an enormous collection of works composed of elements borrowed from the worlds of painting and collage, two types of media founded on artistic concepts and traditions of different, and sometimes divergent, nature. Painting, in its classic forms, is based on observation and thoughts about light, air, tonality and composition, while collage, which is a much younger medium (about a hundred years old), is founded on modernist disassembly: several worlds piled on one another and colliding with each other, to express a broken and torn world that is chaotic rather than harmonious. But unlike the modernist collage, which is usually made of newspaper clippings, photographs and more, the raw material in Amizur’s works is simple white paper, uniformly painted in flat industrial paints of custom hues made to Amizur’s specifications. Occasionally, the paper is covered in two different layers of paint, creating depth and a sense of heat or cold. These simple pieces of papers serve as the basis for diverse complex operations and surprising encounters, with which Amizur forges a new and wonderful world. The palette – of countless painted pieces of papers – is the only factor known at the outset. This limitation is a basic given in the work, requiring creative solutions on the artist’s part and resulting in the creation of colorful relationships that would not exist had she access to the usual gamut of colors and hues.

Ultimately, the ensemble consists of hundreds of pieces, all performing in Amizur’s great production: every form and patch is in constant dialogue. Amizur’s work offers hundreds of perspectives that change at her bidding, together creating a resonating moment in which the simple becomes complex, and the complex – beautiful. The works were inspired by a black-and-white reproduction, yet are striking for their vivid, vigorous colors. This may seem odd, at first, as Amizur has never seen the colorful original, but perhaps that is precisely what allowed her to disengage from it with relative ease and assert the freedom to produce such original and intense color combinations. Her cut-up pieces of papers are like continents floating tectonically on a flat earth, and the result is a spectacular sight, whose simplicity arises from masterful craftsmanship.

Iddo Markus

Rotem Amizur: Rubik’s Cube
Rothschild Fine Art, 2021

Rubik’s Cube is an exhibition of paintings by Rotem Amizur using the techniques of collage and acrylic paint. The works are mostly from the past year, a body of work representing an entire cluster of Amizur’s areas of interest and research. Her studio practice involves turning to various sources to explore her painterly worldview. Amizur’s collage technique is unique, taken directly from oil painting and direct observation of masterpieces, from the Italian Renaissance through Vermeer.

Soon after the artist moved to Haifa in 2014, she was looking at an old photograph of Georges Braque standing at his easel. On the easel was a work in progress. Underneath the painting were seven vessels, each with a pre-mixed oil paint. Her understanding that Braque prepared his colors in advance, mixing them to balance their relationships and thus creating a limited, clear framework of their harmonic color relations, led her to thoughts on a new way of working.

In practice, Braque prepared his own tools, creating predetermined “rules of the game.” Amizur began to formulate the rules of her own game, and developed the collage technique she currently employs. The papers which are painted in advance refer only to the pleasure in the color itself, “like sweets in a candy shop.”

Amizur noticed that the painters of the past used transparent layers of paint in opposite color temperatures, and so she, too, paints each paper with two layers of paint – one warm and the other cool, resulting in a complex, airy color. The stage of painting the papers can often take several weeks.

In her painterly game, Rotem Amizur dictates to herself a limited number of papers (i.e., colors) for each work as she begins the artwork. Another rule is never to paint a new paper during the work on the piece; she must use only the pre-painted papers. This often leads to a painterly puzzle due to the lack of a certain color, forcing her to solve it during the work process. Her collage work is characterized by quick, big decisions. She exploits the playful potential of the medium, often changing the work dozens of times, thus creating multiple layers that conceal “alternate realities” underneath the surface of the work.

“It’s ‘game over’ when the painting exists without me.” This is the end-game for Amizur – time to paste everything down.

The intimate state of close observation of each and every color patch and shape is precisely when the work is ended, “like the stage of contemplating a journey, when I remember all of the adventures.”

Several of Amizur’s themes return in her work: correspondence with painters of the past, such as Piero della Francesca and Matisse; the reclining nude, in the context of references to Titian, Frank Auerbach and many others; deep engagement in what may be called musical variations on a theme, such as her series of English landscapes.

The current exhibition enables viewers what is almost direct access to the artist’s studio: her themes, her unceasing correspondence with masters of the past, visitors to the studio, the family on vacation, places she travels to, and the models with whom she works. Evident In all of these subjects is the child-like enjoyment, surprise, and astonishment at what the world has to offer to a painter.

Shahar Sivan

Rotem Amizur: Rock, Paper, Scissors
Rothschild Fine Art, 2019

The world that Rotem Amizur creates is at once chaotic and harmonious. In her order of creation, first comes color, then form, and only afterwards does the entire composition come into being. Areas of color deconstruct into particles of painted, cut paper, which are reassembled into non-uniform painterly surfaces, some cut, others whole, in a layered, stratified work. The meticulous craft of reassembling the compositional fragments is complex, while on the other hand, it is an automatic-emotional action characterized by painterly charisma integrated with stream of consciousness and energy.

Façades of building, interiors, women, and objects in a still life – all of these characterize Amizur’s oeuvre. They form the world that she observes, and they alone are what she chooses to describe through the prism unique to her. She has created her own singular language, which flirts with the art languages of Braque, Picasso, Matisse, and others. Her language is personal, firmly rooted in Amizur’s “here and now” – the environs of Haifa all around her, her art influences and training, and her own home.

Amizur’s background stands at the intersection of her studies in figurative painting and contemporary conceptual art. Her integration of the two creates a synthesis in her work, reflecting her rare ability to observe, read reality, and translate it outwardly into an art language. This is perfected, sensitive observation, unlike any other. Her work exposes the process of creating art in a sincere, direct way without the slightest bit of beautification or needless refining. Amizur states quite openly: Our gaze is always partial and limited. Consequently, there is only one remedy – art. This limitation is also her strength; reality beaks down, and the deconstructed reality is then reconstructed.  Her art action is the only recovery from the deconstructed state in which we live.

Rotem Amizur heals us with her art because what she provides viewers with is – consolation.

Sari Golan
Tel Aviv, 2019