Dani Karavan

Born in Tel Aviv (now in Israel) in 1930, Dani Karavan is known for his outstanding interventions to the landscape, monumental yet minimal. Given his origins and cultural tradition, he has been especially sensitive to proposals for projects concerned with exile and memory.

Karavan trained in Tel Aviv with the painters Aharon Avni, Marcel Janco, Avigdor Steimatzky and Yechezkel Shtreichmann, and with Mordechai Ardon at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem in 1956 and 1957; he studied the technique of fresco painting from Giovanni Colacicchi at the Academy of Fine Art in Florence, and drawing at the Grande Chaumière in Paris. In 1958 he won the competition to design the pavilions for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Israel’s independence. From this time on his work acquired a distinctive quality of social commitment it has never abandoned. In the 1960s he worked as a set designer with choreographer such as Martha Graham. His first major work, the Negey Monument in Beersheba (Israel), earned him international recognition. Since then he has carried out projects in Israel, Italy, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, the USA, Korea, Japan and especially Germany. Following his participation in Documenta 6 in Kassel, Germany is the country in which he has developed most projects for public spaces: Ma’alot in Cologne (1979-1986), Weg der Menschenrechte / Way of Human Rights in Nuremberg (1989-1993), Mimaamakim in Gelsenkirchen (1997) and Grundgesetz 49 in Berlin (2002). In 1997 he was awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste in Germany and in 1998 he received the Praemium Imperiale in Japan.

In his projects, Dani Karavan has an extraordinary ability to bring to life the natural and urban spaces in which he works, and an exceptional capacity for engaging with them to transform memory they contain into an experience that is at once sensory and communicative. Humanity, nature and art: his work can be understood as an ongoing exploration of the possibilities of acting on the environment and of the power of landscape to communicate experiences. Karavan looks for large open spaces in which he can structure arteries of circulation. He uses signs, elements of the landscape itself and minimal sculpture to tell a story. In this way be brings together concepts such as landscape, sculpture, architecture, urbanism, memory, history and commitment.