Laura Murlender

Laura Murlender graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  She was an artist in residence at Makor’s Steinhardt Program in New York City.  Her work addresses collective and personal themes of memory, disappearance, and identity.

Her exhibition “From Darkness to Light,” based on her experiences as “Disappeared” under the former dictatorship in Argentina, was held at the Yeshiva University Museum in 2007. Her works were shown at exhibitions internationally, including the Centre Pompidou and the Grand Palais, Paris; Kouros Gallery and the Argentine Consulate in New York; Recoleta Cultural Center and Galeria Vasari in Buenos Aires; Museum of Contemporary Latin American Art, La Plata, Argentina; Rebecca Gallery in Toronto; MOLAA Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California; ArteBA and Buenos Aires Photo Art Fairs, among others.

Awards include the America-Israel Cultural Foundation’s scholarship; Samuel First Prize in Visual Arts- Canada; the French Government Grant and Photography Awards: Brenner – Ilford, and Agfa.  Her work is included in the collections of the Derfner Judaica Museum and Yeshiva University Museum, New York; the Bass Museum of Art, Miami; MACLA Museum of Contemporary Art, La Plata, Argentina — and numerous private ones.  Reviews about her exhibitions have appeared in The New York Sun, Art Daily, ArtScope.net — Chicago, The Boston Globe, La Nación Newspaper, Buenos Aires Herald, Rhizome, and Art Collector Planet, among others.

1) What or who inspired you to want to be an artist? 

I began drawing consistently from an early age. During my childhood in Buenos Aires, my parents’ book collection was a central part of my inner world. I remember reading books of Franz Kafka, León Tolstoy, Romain Rolland, Jorge Luis Borges, and Julio Cortázar, which influenced me and transformed my thoughts.  At that time I began participating in art workshops. I felt very comfortable being surrounded by books and drawings. I never stopped reading, drawing and painting. Overtime, I realized that it was my way of expression and communication.

2) What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?

The artistic environment I had at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, followed by postgraduate studies at the École des Beaux-arts in Paris, led to a significant paradigm shift.  Interaction with other artists exposed me to the critical appreciation of art movements and the way those movements were being challenged by new concepts.

Having grown up in Buenos Aires, then living eight years in Israel, followed by a year in Paris, five years in Mexico, as well as annual visits in Argentina and New York, is part of the creative journey that influenced who I am today. In New York, I was part of the Makor/Steinhardt Artists-in-Residence Program during 2006/2007, which was followed by a solo exhibition at the Yeshiva University Museum in 2007 and in Kouros Gallery in 2012. I am also represented by Vasari art gallery in Buenos Aires and Rebecca Gallery in Toronto.

3) What do you need as an artist today? 

To continue exploring and deepening the examination of subjects of history, identity and memory.

4) What creative project are you working on now?

I am working on visible and veiled structures and patterns contained in monochromatic surfaces. The work is based on a grid system and a methodical way of tracing and erasing, alluding to the modes memory acts.  A particular tension is reflected in the texture produced in my new series of paintings and in works on paper, using oil and mixed media.

5) Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years? 

Continuing to deepen my exploration and awareness of the mediums and the subjects I work with.

6) What does it mean to you to be an Israeli artist?

My formative years at Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts in Jerusalem were crucial in the development of who I am now. The sensibilities developed during those years have become a central place of reference in my artistic process.

7) What does it mean to you to have an organization like the America-Israel Cultural Foundation supporting Israeli culture in the past 75 years?

I am very grateful for the support of AICF. It gave me the strength to continue with the next steps and allowed me to show my work outside of the academy for the first time. AICF gave me the financial backing to continue working at an early stage. Without AICF, many artists would not have the opportunity to grow.