Merav Tzur primarily facilitates fertile scenarios, often with an active public component, where all parties can explore their capacity for spontaneous and inventive play. Tzur is interested in creating situations that reveal the way we tell stories, and how these fictions establish our sense of stability and identity. Her experience as a child in the Kibbutz’s “Junkyard Playground” has informed much of her artistic practice. In the Junkyard Playground, children create temporary structures from real-world objects, and then engaged in socio-dramatic activities within them. In Tzur’s work, just as in the Junkyard Playground—where children learn about the world and how to engage with it through role-play— she employs playful improvisation as a means to delve into, and examine various concepts. Tzur’s projects encourage us to look at ourselves critically, and to better understand ourselves as individuals and within a society, our behavioral patterns, and our personal truths and misconceptions.
Each of Tzur’s projects is unique, but is also part of a larger anthology of related work that investigates themes of personal and collective narratives. Her interdisciplinary practice mines various domains—such as folklore, history, Internet imagery, and science—to examine how we construct our personal, cultural, social, and political ideologies. Currently Tzur’s projects have focused on how women have been portrayed in myths, fairy tales, and folklore, and how those restrictive archetypes contributed to the empowerment of the pervasive patriarchy. She inhabits roles, such as the witch, and depicts her doing everyday activities. These depictions upend the long-standing view of these “dangerous,” powerful outcasts by placing them into the sphere of the everyday, engaging in commonplace, utilitarian activities.
Tzur 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, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Kroswork Gallery, SOMArts Gallery, San Francisco Performance Art Institute, and in Israel. She teaches sculpture, contemporary art Seminar and multimedia at San Jose State University and Ohlone Community College. A recipient of the 2012 Dorothy Saxe Invitational Award for Creativity in Contemporary Art from The Contemporary Jewish Museum, she lives and works in Tel Aviv and in Oakland, California.