Since the 1990s’ Ayala Serfaty has forged a unique path in the world of contemporary design, creating and crafting conceptual lights and furniture. Her work has been described by scholars as ‘multi-disciplinary,’ as ‘fusion of art, craft, and design,’ as defusing the line between the natural and the abstract. Her approach focuses on ancient traditions, striving to revive their spirit and energies in unorthodox, unexpected, and innovative manner.
Ayala Serfaty became known for her SOMA, handcrafted sculptural lights named after a Greek term that describes the human body. She chose this name to enlighten the poetic qualities of her objects, which largely reveal the levels of abstractions that nature can project. In her recent Series, Rapa, Serfaty creates furniture made of handmade textile, crafting felt out of fibers carefully gathered by her from all over the world. Rapa is not a departure, but rather reconnecting with textile, the materiality that came to inform her work from its very beginning.
Ayala Serfaty was born in Tel Aviv, in 1962. She studied Fine Arts at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, and after graduating from the Middlesex Polytechnic in London, she settled in Tel Aviv, where she has lived and worked ever since. In 1996 she co-founded Aqua Creations Lighting and Furniture Atelier, acting as the atelier’s designer and creative director, until establishing her own art studio. For over twenty years Serfaty has exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. Her solo shows were held at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Sculpture Museum Beelden Aan Zee, Den Haag. She participated in group shows in such museums as London Design Museum, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Cooper Hewitt Museum, Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design in Nuremberg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, just to name a few.
Serfaty’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Arts and Design, the Mint Museum, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Corning Museum of Glass, and Indianapolis Museum of Art.
1984 Fine Arts, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem
1987 Fine Arts, Middlesex Polytechnic, London
Listed Solo Exhibitions
1994 Artifact Gallery, Tel Aviv, Sculptural Furniture
1997 Gallery Inter Nos, Milan, Aqua Creations
1998 Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, Strasbourg Antoine Cicero & Ayala Serfaty une dialogue
1998 Gallery Blanchart, Milan, Ayala Serfaty
2000 Meta Gallery, Milan, Evolution 19
2007 Lorenzelli Arte, Milan, Soma: The Beauty of the Moon through Clouds
2008 Tel Aviv Museum of Art - Soma light installation
2009 Sculpture Museum Beelden Aan Zee, Den Haag, the Netherlands, Soma Light Installation
2009 Cristina Grajales Gallery, Design Miami
2011 Cristina Grajales Gallery, New York, In Vein
Listed Group Exhibitions
1991 Artifact Gallery, Tel Aviv, The Next Generation
1994 Janco Dada Museum, Ein-Hod, Israel, Object Object: A Dialogue between Art and Design
1995 Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany - Design-Time
1996 Übersee Museum, Bremen, Germany - Design im Wandel
2002 Centre Pompidou, Paris - Carrefour de la Création
2002 The Rockland Center for the Arts, New York, Design show
2003 Neues Museum Nürnberg, Nuremberg - Design Museums of the World
2003 Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg - Nature Highly Artificial
2004 Dot Fifty One Gallery, Miami, Red, White and Blue
2005 Victoria &Albert Museum, London, Collect
2005 Triennale, Milan, Promisedesign, New Design from Israel
2006 Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York Solos: Design from Israel
2006 VIA Gallery, Paris, Surfaces
2010 London Design Museum - Brit Insurance Design Awards 2010
2010 Chelouche Gallery for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, Re-Location
2011 Design Museum Holon, Israel - New Olds: Design between Tradition and Innovation
2012 Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Herzliya, Israel - Cabinets of Wonders
2013 Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv - Woven Consciousness
2014 Design Museum Holon, Holon, Israel - Gathering
2015 Trapholt Museum of Modern Art & Design, Denmark - Fetishism
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Aqua Regia 1996, acquisition 2001
Museum of Arts and Design, Webs June 2008, commissioned 2008
Holon Design Museum, Primo Bianco 2010, acquisition 2011
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wild March 2009, acquisition 2012
Mint Museum, Joy of Transition, 2012, commissioned 2012
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Andrea’s Trust 2006, acquisition 2012
Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Once May 2006, acquisition 2013
Corning Museum of Glass, Soma 2015, commissioned 2015
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Memory 2014, acquisition 2015
1985 America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship
2006 Israel Minister of Education and Culture’s annual Design Award
Aryeh Berkovitz, “Nighties News,” Hadashot (October 3, 1993)
Esther Zandberg, “A Woman’s World,” H’ir (December 12, 1995).
Paola Antonelli, “Making Waves,” I.D. Magazine (January-February, 1998), 77.
Deborah Sontag, “Where the Fish Watch you Eat,” The New York Times (April 1, 1999), 56.
Dov Kazenelson, “Under the Water,” BVD (May 2003): 94-97.
Meira Yagid-Haimovici, Design Museums of the World (2004), 206-211.
Charlotte and Peter Fiell, eds., 1000 Lights vol II (New York: Taschen, 2005): 446-9.
Meira Yagid-Haimovici, “It is the Light,” Tel Aviv Museum of Art catalogue for Soma Light Installation, 2008
Yuval Sa’ar, “Take your Sleeping Bad and spend the Night at the Museum,” Haaretz, Nov. 2008
Sarit Shapira, “Dewdrops of Light: On Ayala Serfaty’s Light Objects,” Ayala Serfaty, In Vein (New York: Cristina Grajales Gallery, 2011).
Tim McKeohugh, “Ayala Serfaty’s Light Sculptures on Display,” The New York Times (Novemb 2, 2011), D3.
Tali Yaffe, “A Light Touch,” Cultured Magazine (Winter, 2012), 118.
Dafna Kauffmann, “Paludes,” Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Arts website: http://www.herzliyamuseum.co.il/english/september-2012/cabinet-of-wonder/ayala-serfati
Nava Sevilla Sadeh, “A Subline Vision: Classical Concepts of Sublimation in Classical and Hellenistic Sculptural Goddess Images and their Manifestation in Artworks by Two Contemporary Israeli Artists, Lea Avital and Ayala Serfaty,” in Consciousness, Literature and the Arts 15 (1) (April, 2014).
William Ganis, “Ayala Serfaty’s Shared Intimacies,” The Urban Glass Quarterly 140 (Fall, 2015), 50-53.