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 a ‘fusion of art, craft, and design,’ and as defusing the line between the natural and the abstract. Her approach focuses on ancient traditions, striving to revive their spirit and energies in an unorthodox, unexpected, and innovative manner.
Ayala Serfaty became known for 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 successive series, including Rapa, Serfaty has created furniture of handmade textiles, crafting felt out of fibers she carefully gathered from all over the world. These are less a departure than a form of reconnection, as it was the very materiality inherent in these textiles, which has informed her work from the very beginning.
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 thirty years AYALA has exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. She has had solo shows at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Sculpture Museum Beelden Aan Zee, Den Haag, and has participated in group shows at the 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 was recently acquired by Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris and is included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design, the Mint Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. She has held solo shows at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Sculpture Museum Beelden Aan Zee, Den Haag, and participated in group shows in such museums as the London Design Museum, the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, the Cooper Hewitt Museum, the Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design in Nuremberg, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, to name but a few.
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, ; 2017 - Jewish Museum Hohenems, Austria, The Feminine Side of God; 2020 - Jewish Museum Frankfurt, Germany, The Feminine Side of God ; 2020 - Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Biennale of Crafts & Design; 2022 - Carpenters Workshop Gallery NY, The Female Voice in Modern Design, 1950-2000 ; Yearly presentations at international Design-Art fairs such as Art Basel, Salon of Art & Design NY, Collective NY, Nomad Monaco, PAD Raris.
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 ; Museum Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Sangha, 2021, acquisition.
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.