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Major Retrospective of Israeli Artist Micha Ullman on View at the Israel Museum
Map, 2002, Iron and red sand. Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd.

JERUSALEM.- The Israel Museum presents the first museum retrospective of the work of Israeli artist Micha Ullman, spanning the artist's fifty-year career in sculpture, drawing, and installation. Sands of Time: The Work of Micha Ullman brings together approximately 120 works, dating from the 1970s through the present, including a 200-square-meter site-specific installation created by Ullman in celebration of the exhibition using his own distinctive sand-throwing technique. The exhibition features nearly 50 of Ullman’s indoor sculptures made of iron and sand, and 70 works on paper from the Israel Museum, together with loans from collections from Israel and abroad.

Micha Ullman, born in Tel Aviv in 1939, is known for his subterranean outdoor installations, some of which barely protrude from the ground, and his sculptures made of iron and sand, which address such universal themes as home and place, and absence and emptiness. He achieved international recognition for his deeply moving underground library void, created as a Holocaust memorial in Berlin’s Bebelplatz (1995), where the Nazis burned thousands of books on May 10, 1933. In 2009, Ullman was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize, among other international honors received throughout his career. His site-specific installations can be found around the world, in countries including Australia, Germany, Italy, Israel, and Japan.

A highlight of the current exhibition is Ullman's 200-square-meter Wedding installation, created at the Israel Museum on June 5, 2011, using nearly one hundred volunteers who served as participants in a fictional wedding ceremony. Ullman used his signature sand-throwing technique to freeze the ceremony in time, capturing the footprints left in the sand by the attendees, as well as the imprints of wedding furniture including the traditional wedding canopy, tables, and chairs. Volunteers included Israel Museum staff and Jerusalem-based art students.

“Through this unique collaborative project, our extended community was able to engage with Ullman’s art-making process and ‘leave their footprints’ in our renewed museum, capturing a simulated and fleeting moment fashioned by the artist,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “In this first museum retrospective for Ullman, Wedding, along the rest of the works on display, illustrate the dualities that infuse artist’s works, simultaneously conveying a sense of the intangible and celestial, as well as the tactile and earthbound.”

The exhibition also includes an installation of films screened in an adjacent gallery, including two created especially for this retrospective, documenting Ullman's major outdoor works in Europe and Micha Ullman, Who What, 2009 Israel. Another film documents the creation of Equinox (2005-2009), Ullman’s site-specific outdoor sculptural installation inaugurated in 2009 in the Museum's Billy Rose Art Garden.

The exhibition, curated by Chief Curator-at-Large Yigal Zalmona, is on view from June 22 through November 12, 2011

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