Iftah Geva: New Technologies in Design

(March 2016)


Strikingly beautiful, groundbreaking works by Israeli artist/craftsman Iftah Geva will be on exhibit in the window of Philadelphia’s Moderne Gallery, Geva’s primary gallery in the United States. Titled IFTAH GEVA: NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN DESIGN, this is Geva’s first solo show in the U.S.
IFTAH GEVA: NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN DESIGN presents a limited number of one-of-a-kind pieces of Geva’s elegant, organic, technically intricate furniture, sculpture and jewelry. Because each piece takes many months, often more than a year, to design and produce, this small exhibit actually includes most of Geva’s output of the past three years. Evident in each piece is the combination of high design, fine craftsmanship and complex industrial techniques.
The Moderne Gallery exhibit includes a coffee table, an end table, two stools, a prototype for a bench, two kinetic sculptures and a large bracelet. (View images and additional information at www.modernegallery.com
The highly original works of Iftah Geva and his technical/business partner, Gal Goldner, are an integral part of the dramatic shifts that have taken place in the world of craft over the past few years. They have already been included in two major museum exhibitions and in several magazine articles. Pushing the boundaries of today’s studio craft concepts, the pieces are the result of a unique combination of design and technology that the two men, friends since they were teenagers, developed together. These extraordinary forms are painstakingly constructed of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer, paper, bronze and exotic woods from carefully selected trees -- all part of Geva/Goldner’s efforts to bring symbolism and meaning to objects of everyday life.
“Their work is so much on the cusp of what can be done that some pieces couldn’t be completed until technology caught up with their design concepts,” says Robert Aibel, owner and director of Moderne Gallery. “However, their use of beautiful wood and organic design elements clearly relate to the work of Nakashima, Esherick, Maloof, Ebner, and Castle in our gallery.”
IFTAH GEVA: NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN DESIGN will be on display from First Friday, March 4 through First Friday, May 6, 2016 at Moderne Gallery, 111 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106. 215-923-8536; info@modernegallery.com; Hours are 12 to 5pm, Tuesday – Saturday; 12 to 8pm on the First Friday of each month. www.modernegallery.com

Moderne Gallery first launched Geva/Goldner works at The Salon: Art+Design and The Collective in New York in 2012 and later at Design Miami. In June 2016 Moderne Gallery will introduce their work at Art Basel, Switzerland. Two Geva/Goldner pieces were included in the recent “Crafted: Objects in Flux” exhibition at The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) Boston. The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York has exhibited and acquired one of their bracelets.
Geva and Goldner have been recognized by The MFA Boston as amongst the foremost emerging artists in the world employing new technologies. “To call Geva and Goldner creative would be an understatement,” says Moderne Gallery co-director Joshua Aibel. “They are forever exploring the lines between art, craft and design in extraordinary ways.”
The designers themselves acknowledge that “inspiration, invention and production were in constant dialogue up to the end of work on the objects.”
Native Israelis, Gal Goldner and Iftah Geva live and work in a Kibbutz in Northern Israel, handcrafting innovative furniture, sculpture and jewelry primarily out of exotic woods and carbon fiber. Goldner studied mechanical and industrial engineering at the Ben-Gurion University. Geva, an artist, studied industrial design at the Holon Institute of Technology. Together they founded “Life Assistant,” with the mission of developing and designing technological innovations for an aging population, and ABA Science Play, where they develop projects for cutting-edge playgrounds. Their move into artistic works is a natural outcome of their shared interests. www.ggi.co.il
As reported by Helen Hill in Modern Magazine (June 2014): Unknown to the design world before 2012, Geva and Goldner had developed techniques for carving local woods into undulating curves and organic shapes, animated by industrial carbon fiber. They were discovered on a trip to Israel by Daniella Ohad, a New York–based design historian and consultant and director of the collecting design program at the New York School of Interior Design. Ohad recalls that she was impressed by their unusual choice of materials. “The result is a unique, personal aesthetic that can be defined as a fusion of two opposites--high tech and craft—but with the hand of the makers always visible in the sleek, streamlined forms,” she says. “Efforts to adopt materials and technologies from other sophisticated sectors to design is seen everywhere, but Goldner and Geva have done it successfully.”