Before Nature Avenges

Walla!, 11 May, 2009
by Eyal Datz

Daphna Margolin is an environmental educator and ecological artist whose apocalyptic vision is presently more relevant than ever. A new exhibition of her works opens in Tel Aviv next week.

"Ecology is such a broad issue that it impacts on everything."
Daphna Margolin

The interactions between ecology and technology might inflict disaster upon mankind, but may also help improve the world. In her exhibition, " Eco-Calypsa - the Seam-Line Between Ecology and Technology," which opens next Thursday, artist Daphna Margolin is trying to point at that sensitive borderline where the advantages of one are the disadvantages of the other. Presenting works from various periods, Margolin offers "a unique concept of describing the relationship between the environment and technology, which combines an apocalyptic vision, but also opens a window of optimism and potential repair," as she put it.

"Being a retrospective, the exhibition describes the impact of the environment on our lives. Ecology is such a broad issue that it impacts on everything," Margolin told Walla! Green, adding that she had chosen to portray the worst possible outcome of the technology-ecology interaction. "My approach was apocalyptic right from the start, which explains the name of the exhibition. Technology as I saw it was gaining power, extending of our bodies and amplifying our time and space sensors. Thus, our childhood landscapes become an ever-changing environment, imaging reality by using our technological radar."

What do you believe is the place of ecological art in the international environmental discourse of recent years?

"I believe anyone can contribute to the expanding awareness of the issue wherever they can. People can educate to expand awareness, take real action on the ground, form political lobbies, or engage in green economy (industry, agriculture, construction). In my art, I try to express various paths - warnings or constructive criticism. Since I used to engage in ecological education and serve as chairperson of an ecological involvement association, I combine field activities such as ecological fairs with producing an ecological movie, doing so in my artistic way.

Do you use environmental and recycled materials in your works?

"My works focus on using recycled materials. For example, one of my works, "Recyclee" - a human figure filled with packaging materials - constantly features in environmental meetings and exhibitions."

Which ecological artists influenced your works?

"I created my own path of ecological art when no such art existed in Israel, so I cannot name artists who influenced my works. I can speak of the influence of my father who was an agronomist, vegetarian, and ecological educator when the concept did not even exist. He was against pesticides and used to say that nature will take its revenge from us yet."

Margolin, a pioneering Israeli ecological artist, has been active in this field since 1975 and an educator of art and the environment for many years. In 1979, she won the International Vacation Prize from the Israeli Knesset. Her works were exhibited at Grand Palais in Paris, the 1822 Forum Gallery in Frankfurt, the FusionArts Museum in New York, the Venice Biennale, and many other international venues, as well as in the Israel Art Museum of Ramat Gan, and the National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space at the Matilda Recanati Center in Haifa.


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