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Genius Loci, Art In Nature, Biennale, Korea -

Press Release


Israeli artists Shai Zakai was selected to participate in the Geum-Gang Nature Art Biennale, in Kong-Ju, South Korea, in August 2004.
Out of 105 proposals from around the world, 30 artists from Europe, Asia, and the U.S. were selected, including the two artists from Israel. 30 Korean artists will also participate in the biennale. The biennale is being organized by "Yatoo," a well known Korean artists’ association, in collaboration with a German guest curator.
Participation of the artists from Israel is supported by the Foreign Ministry, Department of Arts, Culture, and Science. Artist Shai Zakai will receive additional support from "Mifal Hapais" Fund for the production of her work. 

Shai Zakai – photographer, ecological artist, founder and director of the "Israeli Forum for Ecological Art", deals with creative solutions to environmental issues through art, such as river restoration and restoring damaged landscapes. Shai works in various media - video, photography, installation and is a lecturer and an environmental consultant. She introduced the term/discipline of "ecological art" to Israel. Shai recently created the first annual course in ecological art in this country which is held in her studio, the "Concrete Creek 1999-2002" area, and the Ella valley. Shai is a graduate of the photography department of Hadassah College. She has a B.A in Art History and a Master’s degree (MA) in Art and Environmental Policy, from the Hebrew University. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Israel and around the world, including China, the USA, Japan, and Europe. This year, Zakai is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the publishing of her book, "A Picture of a Woman." In recent years Shai represented Israel as a member of official delegations to the Johannesburg Earth Summit, and the 'Second World Water Forum', in Kyoto. While in Korea, Shai Zakai will work on behalf of the Israeli Forum for Ecological Art, to promote the “Israeli Ecological Art Biennale” planned to take place in Israel, in 2006.

For the biennale, in Korea Shai Zakai will reinforce "Genius Loci" ( sense of place) by installing 7 metal "landscape units," that will form a walking path with intended stops for in-depth observation of details of the local biodiversity. The artist will locate the "landscape units" according to a photographic study and a land survey, done in collaboration with a Korean ecologist, including a mapping of endemic plants, for conservation, characterizing contemporary and historic environmental damage of the site. In parallel, the artist will establish a dialogue between inside and outside, by using macro photographs to convey the outdoor track's rhythm and its details. The images will be placed in an additional 7 "landscape units creating an opportunity for careful observation of precious details of nature, similar to the experience of examining valuable diamonds, and an intimate experience for the viewer with the “spirit of the place.”

The indoor/outdoor dialog is also a tribute to Robert Smithson’s "Site/Non-Site.” Although, unlike Smithson, Zakai does not bring materials from the margins into the museum for observation. Instead, through the use of macro photography, she draws the viewers’ attention to the intimate details of nature – urging viewers to look closely before it is too late.