Merav & Halil | June 2023
Merav Kamel (B. 1988, Tel Aviv) and Halil Balabin (b.1987, Jerusalem)
they both live and work in Tel Aviv, Israel.
We are excited to introduce you to the work of Merav Kamel and Halil Balabin. The artist duo has been working together since 2012, after graduating with a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design of Jerusalem.
We came across the work of the artists back in 2022, through a curator friend after visiting them at Fountainhead Residency in Miami. This year in Mexico City, at the last edition of Zona Maco, we had the opportunity to experience their work in person presented by Braverman Gallery at EJES, a section of the fair curated by another dear friend, Direlia Lazo.
Merav and Hallil started making dolls as gifts to one another and soon later developed them conceptually, gaining widespread critical acclaim. The fabric dolls represent an array of topics spanning from mythology to current and historical events while incorporating biographical references, nonsense, and humor, sexuality, and fantasy.
The slender figurines bear an irrefutable reference to childhood with their elastic and gawky limbs, but the hyper-sexualized and overtly-political situations they enact dismantle their innocence and open the possibility to more obscure interpretations. They work with materials like wood, metal, fabric, and cardboard to create these sculptural dolls and large-scale drawings. The drawings, made of watercolor and ink, are engraved into the paper in a process the artists akin to tattooing on skin.
Merav and Halil’s work is part of the collections of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and has been exhibited in Germany, Mexico, the United States, and the Czech Republic, among others. During their time at Fountainhead, they prepared the solo show Bile, still on view at the Israel Museum.
We hope you enjoy learning more about the work of the artists and find it as unique and special as our curatorial team does. These ten sculptures, which invite us to dive into a fantastical realm, were made specially for our platform.