The painter Matan Ben-Tolila was born in 1978 in Kvutzat Yavne, Israel and currently lives and works in Jerusalem. In 2006 he received his BFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem with The Mitchell Presser Prize for excellency in painting. In 2010 he graduated with an MFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Tel Aviv.
In his large-scale landscape paintings, which usually consist of temporary structures, Matan investigates the area between reality and fantasy in painting by using patterns of repetition, distortion, subtraction, and illusion. Although his structures seem to belong nowhere, the paintings raise the issue of the difficulty of representing the Israeli landscape. He has exhibited works in galleries and museums in Israel, and in 2011 is due to exhibit his works in Germany, in collaboration with “Schir Art Projects”- which initiates and organizes projects of creative communities from Germany and Israel.
1) What or who inspired you to want to be an artist?
There are many wonderful artists that inspired me to become artist; most of them are musicians and filmmakers.
2) What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
Two days before my final exhibition for my bachelor degree, my first child was born, Roni. Six years later (and there were two more kids at home), I’m in a fascinating place in which I can have a routine of working in my studio along with being a full-time parent. Being a parent has influenced greatly my artistic way: there isn’t an option of missing the important things in life and I need to stay focused, sharp, and decisive all the way.
3) What do you need as an artist today?
All basic things such as sensitivity, the ability to observe, and persistence. But I want to mention a less attractive need: patience. To me, a great part of an artist’s success is being attentive to internal processes and specifically giving those processes the time they need to develop, and not one moment less.
4) What creative project are you working on now?
The project I’m currently working on is my solo exhibition “Moon Walks” in Noga Gallery (Tel-Aviv). The opening is on Jan. 24 and will present new art works I’ve had the pleasure to work on this past year.
5) Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years?
Hopefully, painting everyday and presenting my work in major museums in Europe and the US.
6) What does it mean to you to be an Israeli artist?
Being an Israeli artist means creating in a turbulent wave of day-to-day pressure and walking on shaky ground. Although this situation is difficult for Israeli artists, I think it makes the Israeli art very alert, dynamic, and with a true sense of urgency.
7) What does it mean to you to have an organization like AICF available in the art world?
AICF is an important platform for artists to get to know others the foundation supports, and it gives the artist a sense of belonging to a professional and supportive network.