Oren Arbel

Artist Statement

"I was a potter. I was mad about that craft. D'you realize what it means to take a lump of mud and make what you will out of it? Ffrr! You turn the wheel and the mud whirls round, as if it were possessed while you stand over it and say: I'm going to make a jug, I'm going to make a plate, I'm going to make a lamp and the devil knows what more! That's what you might call being a man: Freedom!"

Much like Zorba the Greek - from whom I learned an important lesson about the nature of passion - I feel fortunate that I am able to shape my life in an active and creative way around clay.

I am fascinated by the understanding that the link between clay and man is as old as human history itself. Of all the objects created by man, I feel, the ceramic vessel manages to tell our story best. It is stirring evidence of a long and exacting process – a striving for accuracy of form and style as well as for optimal functionality – and at the same time a kind of documentation of the effects of different cultures and traditions.

My work mostly deals with the concept of a vessel. Often I have consciously abandoned functionality in order to focus more freely on a vessel’s aesthetic qualities, or on the cultural and social phenomena it reflects.

I try, through my objects, to probe the boundaries between craft and industry, tradition and technology, and to manifest a dialogue between the intuitive wisdom of the hand and the precision of the machine.

-- Oren Arbel