Originally trained in glass and ceramics, Alexandra Ben-Abba employs performance, video, and interactive installation as means to engage with process. The relationships explored in her time-based practice touch upon the uncertainty, aggression, and helplessness often felt during times of conflict. Ben-Abba received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (2011) and her BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design (2006).
1) What or who inspired you to want to be an artist?
In the process of looking for a graduate program that combines an emphasis on concept with a lot of creative work, I realized I was going to learn how to be an artist.
2) What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
Interested in making and working with materials, I choose to study for my BFA in sculpture and glass at the Ceramics and Glass department at Betzalel. During my undergraduate studies I went on an exchange program to RISD where I became fascinated with molten glass. I earned my MFA in the Conceptual Glass department there, and I moved to Brooklyn, NY where I currently live and break ceramics and glass in order to make my artwork.
3) What do you need as an artist today?
As an artist and a mother, I always need more studio time and space as well as opportunities to show my work.
4) What creative project are you working on now?
I am working on a solo exhibition and performance that will take place this month: “Always on Our Plate” is a way for me to explore the experience of life in Israel and communicate it to the viewers. In the performance, viewers watch a group of artists and curators eat off of the dangerous dinnerware I made with a combination of hand-blown, purchased, and gifted glass and ceramics as well as cement, wire, and indigestible fiber (IDF.)
5) Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years?
In 10 years I would like to live both in Israel and the US, teach and work on a big traveling performance and show.
6) What does it mean to you to be an Israeli artist?
As an artist who grew up in Israel and now lives here, I feel obligated to make work that relates to Israel and my connection to it. My performances are sculptural events that offer a taste of my experience.
7) What does it mean to you to have an organization like AICF supporting Israeli culture in the past 75 years?
Having an organization like AICF was great when I moved to NYC two years ago. The Israeli Artist Network helped connect me with Rebecca Pristoop–an independent curator and art writer, and we began working together. The connection with Rebecca was a great support and inspiration, and I hope we will continue to work together in the future.