What’s the Matter

What’s the Matter – Works from the Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd.

Sotheby’s Tel Aviv, November 2019 – February 2020

Many of the collectors focusing on contemporary art are driven by the desire to capture the zeitgeist and the dynamic processes reflecting the period’s culture, to fathom its values, reveal its motivations, and encapsulate its essence through art. It is a collecting practice which does not stem from a calculated attempt to build a cohesive or chronological body of work, but rather from a sense of awe vis-à-vis originality and a profound appreciation of the ability to create and innovate. Such is also the Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd, headed by art collector and businessman, Doron Sebbag, which has crystallized in his spirit and image. The collection has been in existence for three decades, during which works spanning a broad range of themes and techniques were acquired. Its extensive activity over the years has included support for artists, the publication of catalogues, curating exhibitions, some of them of museum scale, lending works to exhibitions in and outside of Israel, and initiating various art projects. 

 

The selection of this cluster of works for the large space of Sotheby’s Tel Aviv resulted from an overview of the collection, while relating to its broad material spectrum and the line between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional in art. It is a selection that crosses periods, artists, styles, and materials, attesting to quality, critical thinking, and a collector’s daring. The material search in art in recent decades stems from an apocalyptic sense regarding the destruction of culture, the loss of boundaries, and material excess. At the same time, it also reflects a global culture highly conscious of ecological issues and recycling concerns. During the millennium,
a shift has taken place from perfect sculptures and meticulously designed and hewn objects to works that surrender processes of deconstruction and awareness of the disintegration of matter. Alongside works characterized by strict material polishing, objects have emerged which were founded on cluttered aesthetics, installations and sculptural works created from diversified, found materials. Expansion of the material range attests to the artists; constant desire to seek new materials, previously not included in the artistic canon, and their need to enhance the qualities of a given substance to explore its behavior and challenge its limits.

These tendencies are clearly discernible in the Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd, of which the sculptural medium (the ‘object’) has been an inseparable part from the very outset. The material diversity, as manifested in the exhibited works, is indeed great: neon and lighting fixtures in general, wood, marble, plasticine,polyester, mirrors, glass, styrofoam, leather, sponge, heavy metals (iron),beads, fiberglass, stone, threads, furniture, various textiles, organic and plastic substances, natural and processed ones, as well as new compounds. While the featured selection is only a small fraction of the collection, its power lies in the unusually broad material range. Beyond this rich material cross section, the works address themes relevant to our times. They explore, among other things, the mechanism underlying the art world, correspond with art history, introduce internal tributes, and revisit female artists active in Israel mainly in the 1990s, whose works were purchased for the collection in its early days.

 

The dynamic space of Sotheby’s Tel Aviv, which ordinarily functions as office space, differs from the cold halls of the art museum. Entered from the bourgeois urban heart of Tel Aviv, wandering amidst the sculptural works elicits thoughts about human’s place in the material world surrounding us. Concurrently, it is an assortment of works attesting to a unique, thoughtful process of selection by an art collector, offering a glimpse into his world.