Informed by her experience as a child with the unique pedagogical concept of the Israeli Kibbutz ‘Junkyard Playground’ where children use objects diverted from the landfill to build temporary environments and creatively interact with them and one another– much of Merav Tzur’s work organizes temporary circumstances and environments where participants, audiences, and herself perform various roles. Similar to how children learn through play, Tzur’s practice encourages deeper connections with people through role-play while engaging in critical conversations about our world and our role in it.
Working with mediums ranging from social engagement and performance to sculpture, photography, installation, and video Tzur fabricates fertile spaces for engaging with critical ideas through playful curiosity and pretend circumstances. Her work looks at how we as individuals and agents of larger cultural commons construct anecdotes to establish stability and create a sense of personal identity in relation to our roles within a larger community. Tzur is looking at the ways we build narratives; how as individuals as well as entire cultures we tell those stories that attempt to give meanings or expose a greater purpose to our existence. She investigates various platforms on which we establish those personal, cultural and political narratives; platforms such as Internet imagery, text, and social media, as well as scientific research, history books, religion and so on. Tzur’s recent projects address the constructs of identity as articulated through stock images– how those images construct our ideas of what a happy woman looks like, what a healthy couple relationship looks like, what a family vacation looks like. Looking for common themes in this vast photographic archive she then reenacts those themes in a hypothetical attempt to become what is actually only a constructed illusion.
Tzur was born in Israel and moved to the US when she was twenty-two. She received her MFA from UC Berkeley and BFA from California College of the Arts. Her work has been shown at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, YBCA, Kroswork Gallery, SOMArts Gallery, SFPAI, SFMOMA and in Israel. She teaches sculpture and media at San Francisco State University, Ohlone Community College and College of Marin. A recipient of the 2012 Dorothy Saxe Invitational Award for Creativity in Contemporary Art from The Contemporary Jewish Museum, she lives and works in Oakland, California.