Ilana Goor is an individualistic, autodidactic, intuitive and multifaceted artist. As an artist who knows no boundaries and whose art transcends any conventions, her creations are a blend of vitality and obsession, functional simplicity alongside expressive complexity bordering on surrealism. Her sources of inspiration are neither time nor place-dependent. They create a personal statement, a journey replete with meaning and they succeed in touching and moving people the world over.
Goor was born in Tiberias to an educated and distinguished family of highly respected doctors and artists. She never studied art or design in any formal setting. She developed her artistic techniques on her own from an early age, when she used various parts to create small statues. She is considered to be an international multidisciplinary artist. Her works encompass sculptures, furniture, judaica, lighting fixtures, jewelry and fashion items which are displayed in well known galleries worldwide and are distinguished by their powerful, dominant presence.
She first came to the United States in her 20s and captured the hearts of the locals with her large-buckle belts for men which paved her artistic path in North America. As a result, Goor has been able to launch her impressive talents and has dedicated her main efforts to industry. Goor’s first one-woman exhibition was held in 1972 at the California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles. Since then, her works of art have been exhibited in numerous museums both in Israel and abroad, e.g. the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Museum of 20th Century Art in Vienna, and more.
One of the high points in Goor’s career in the field of design was in 1986 when she won the prestigious Peres Roscoe Design prize. Her signature, which is identified in all her work can also be seen in a number of locations in Israel, such as the moving sculpture “Never Again” which is on display at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and the “Woman in the Wind” sculpture that is close to the Charles Clore park in Tel Aviv.
Ilana Goor began her artistic path at a very young age, and her talent, as well as her phenomenal ability to blend different materials, was already apparent then. To this day, she consistently works with crude, strong and rough materials such as iron and bronze which miraculously melts and softens in her grasp. Sometimes it even appears as though the metal succumbs to Ilana’s skilled hands, forgoes its basic essence and turns into a living, breathing entity.
Goor rarely uses artificial colors, but rather highlights the material’s natural colors, preserves and even emphasizes its fabric as a gesture of respect. Her many sculptures dispersed worldwide address a wide range of content worlds with added value, e.g.: ritualism on several levels such as the ritual of working the earth which, in Ilana’s sculptures, assumes a sacred and serious status. As a woman of art and a woman of the earth, her creation reflects the place where the two become one.
Another ceremony in her work relates to animals and their sacrifice and the ritual stemming from the connection between animals and the earth through the use of agricultural tools. As an artist, she emphasizes their mutual dependence. Another ceremony close to Ilana’s heart relates to life and death and their cyclical nature through skulls, mutilated bodies, candles and perishable materials that represent transience and the passage of time along with quotations such as “it’s all nonsense” and a constant reminder “Know that your day will come and your end is near”. Release from the dreadful moment in Ilana’s work is achieved through humor, which is a testimony to the artist’s tolerance and wisdom gained over the years.
Religion and atheism, the Land of Israel and the blood ties of a mother and her children are some of the other themes in Ilana’s art. The common stylistic denominator among all of these ranges from the figurative to the abstract and from the classical to the brutalist. Although her artistic mix is tremendous in range and no two sculptures by the artist are the same, her hand print and stamp are widely recognized. Her work process is consistent in any of the media she selects. Ilana Goor is a person of fire, earth, water, iron, gold and all the other materials she sculpts with. They are interwoven within her life. They are her and she is them, as a single entity.
American author Irving Stone, who wrote biographies about famous personalities such as Michelangelo, quoted the late-16th century biographer Giorgio Vasari who said that it appears as though the sculpture awaits within the marble and he just helps it to materialize, to shine through, as though it had been there all along. The same applies to Ilana Goor. She is attuned to the pulse and blood of the material. She is familiar with it and hears the beat of its heart, thereby transforming it into a living creature.
Her voyages across the globe and her travels throughout Israel are the source of her inspiration. The same goes for the objects that she finds along the way; sometimes she acquires them from merchants and remote villages, other times she makes something out of nothing just by using various materials and yet in other instances, she also collects them on the roadside. They make their way into Ilana Goor’s home and workshop, which becomes a fertile laboratory where she analyzes them and casts them into living inanimate art.