On 10-14th February Vilnius Academy of Arts (VAA) Department of Ceramics and Faculty of Telšiai welcomed prof. Sasha Serber from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Israeli sculptor and professor Sasha Serber together with Yael Atzmony, Head of Department of Ceramics and Glass at Bezalel Academy, organised creative workshops on silicone casting for students at Department of Ceramics and students at Faculty of Telšiai.
Sasha Serber works in classic methods of sculpting such as carving and engraving but uses contemporary materials like polystyrene and plastic. Sculptural installations are large scale and created in a variety of techniques. A prominent element is the fakeness and the illusion of the material. His work explores the boundary between sculpture installation and realistic sculpture, as well as imitating different materials and different surfaces.
Sasha Serber won numerous award prizes in Israel, exhibited his artworks in museums in Israel and abroad, his sculptures are in the collection of the Israel Museum.
Here is an interview with prof. Sasha Serber taken during his visit to VAA.
Dear Professor, you are visiting Lithuania not for the first time, how do you feel here? You came to Vilnius under the Erasmus + exchange program, so we are curious to know why, having a wide selection of opportunities, you decided to share your rich experience in arts with the community of Vilnius Academy of Arts?
I arrived at VAA for the first time in September and I fell in love with the people and the city. On the professional level, VAA is exceptionally professional. The Department of Ceramics is highly developed and rich in the tools and facilities it offers. It is very convenient to communicate with the Academy on a professional level, and the work with the International Relations Office has been exceptionally great. I received a fast and professional response. Besides, I feel very welcome here. There is excellent support on behalf of the rector for the relationship building with Bezalel Academy. The conditions at the Department of Ceramics are excellent, and the department's management is very professional. So loving the place and the warm people, in addition to the top-level professional management, makes me feel like coming in to teach and share my professional experience.
What impression does the Vilnius Academy of Arts and its community leave on you? Do Bezalel and Vilnius Academies share something similar?
VAA and its community left the best impression. I am mesmerized by the tradition and culture, the arts and the crafts, and I love the Academy's structure with its many faculties and emphasis on exhibition spaces and special projects, residencies, and the like. The community feels very professional and friendly, with extraordinary hospitality. I think Bezalel and VAA are very different. Their most similar aspect is that they are both academies.
You have invited ceramics students from VAA to silicone casting workshop. What impressions you got after the work with the students here?
It seems that the students want to learn and are thirsty for knowledge and art-making. They have a lot of patience. The classes I give are very short. It is more like a presentation. So I don't really have the opportunity to get to know the students a little better.
Ceramics is one of the oldest fields of art and self-expression in the world, but neither its aesthetic nor its functional purpose seems to lose its relevance even in these high-tech times. How do you think, what are the reasons of the longevity and attractiveness of ceramic art?
The human warmth, the intimate touch, the beauty in the material itself. The soil is, in my opinion, more relevant than the people.
What advice would you give to a young artist who is considering to study ceramics at VAA but haven't made a solution to study jet?
Don't hesitate. Go for it.