About Basis

About Basis

The Basis School was founded in 1993 by David Zundelovitch as a unique school of sculpture, and is currently run by Prof. Ya'acov Dorchin – recipient of the Israel Prize for visual arts. It includes sculpture, painting, and photography departments. Basis has maintained its independence and distinctive nature throughout the years, and its curriculum is determined independently without being subject to external requirements. 


 
The school is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sport, and managed by a non-profit organization that continuously promotes and develops the school.
The school program was formulated by active leading artists, with special emphasis on in-depth practical know-how and intense studio work. Basis nurtures an appreciation for materials, work processes, practical research, a broad cultural background, and an openness to the wide spectrum of artistic creativity. Workshops and labs are fully equipped and modernized, inviting students to experiment, practice, discover new avenues and hone their skills. The Basis School’s innovative approach, as well as its distinctive emphasis on expanding knowledge, ensures that departments do not function in isolation.
Each department specializes in methodical study of its particular field, taught by several teachers of wide-ranging approaches, with the goal of establishing a comprehensive and challenging variety of possibilities. This allows students to better express themselves and choose a personal place and path, without neglecting their core curriculum. Nevertheless, each department also teaches core curriculum classes of other departments, providing from the outset a sound foundation from which students may broaden their horizons and be aware of the many possible future combinations of different art forms.
In addition to each department’s curriculum and exposure to other department classes, students also participate in general cultural courses in arts, such as poetry and music, digital thinking, mythologies and others. Basis students are first and foremost people of culture, driven by curiosity, connecting past and present, understanding the contemporary relevance of the triumphs and achievements of art from history’s infancy to the current day. All these establish the groundwork for students to create rich, reasoned, and skilled art.    
Another dimension to the Basis School’s broad foundation is the cultural events that take place in the school, which students are invited to attend: literature readings, discursive seminars, musical performances, film screenings and more. Also, the school compound includes a studio for senior faculty, where students can observe and study directly the work processes of excellent artists who are leaders in their professional fields.
The new Basis building is one of the most advanced study environments in its field, designed to constitute a home, community, a place of counsel and an abundant wellspring for its students. 
 

School Vision

Basis believes in first teaching artistic practice and only then moving on to interpretation; it allows and encourages pluralism and alternative tracks. This is why the core curriculum classes of each track are taught by several teachers concurrently, each representing a different view and with different points of emphasis. This combination of a profound commitment to practical knowhow and a plurality of approaches is what makes Basis a place of openness and independent thought for artists.
The school building also serves as a home for an artist community where schoolteachers, as well as guest artists, work in personal studios. Students are invited to observe and study the work processes of their teachers. The unmediated meeting and discussion that develop around teachers’ works add another dimension to school study. Also, the school will expand this cycle of art and study to also include active artists interested in expanding knowledge, acquiring new skills and techniques and working in the school workshops.
The Basis School functions in an active and vibrant cultural climate, offering many and varied activities in a range of art mediums, such as courses and lectures in art history and contemporary art discourse, meetings with artists and creators of all art forms, musical performances and guided listening classes, literature classes, reading comprehension and creative writing, a gallery exhibiting contemporary Israeli art of veteran and young artists, a rich library and many more. In accordance with the school vision, based on the importance of creating broad cultural ties, all these activities are accessible to all students to provide as wide and enriching a foundation as possible for their future work. 
Basis believes that art is founded on artistic practice; the curriculum in each of the study tracks – Sculpture, Painting, and Photography – includes two years of core general courses and later on students are allowed to focus and deepen knowledge in their chosen fields through free-elective classes decided on with the counsel of faculty.
Basis puts special emphasis on acquiring the skills and proficiency necessary for each chosen medium, without neglecting the development of theoretical knowledge, nor the importance of critique and academic study. 
Basis is a place where students can enrich their work by becoming familiar with traditions, disciplines, and long forgotten qualities.
In today’s hectic world of immediate messages, constant innovation and trends, many old work methods are neglected. This is not because these methods are no longer significant, are unworthy of study, or do not contribute to an artist’s development, but rather because they require a measure of professional discipline, hard work and much practice. Basis emphasizes the importance of workshops and studio hours, and provides these to serve as the young artist’s first mode of personal expression. 
The Basis School aspires to nurture artists that are first and foremost people of culture, curiosity, and vision, people who are thirsty for knowledge and self-enrichment, and aware of the reciprocal contribution of various art forms. The years of study are essentially a period of intense quiet, a time to absorb and process without external pressures, a precious window that never recurs in one’s professional life.
Basis is an independent institution that offers a curriculum that is unique in its form, content, and principles. This curriculum and the method of its teaching were formulated and developed through the experiences and professional considerations of the artists, teachers, and track directors who teach and manage the program, and are not subject to external requirements or guidelines. This is an artist’s program designed for artists – practical and comprehensive, attentive to the individual and relevant to students who wish to learn. 

A Word from the Artistic Director

“The eyes are not responsible when the mind does the seeing” Publilius Syrus

In view of the profound crisis faced by humanities fields in universities, and their general status in the lives of people, the unusual resurgence of interest in art of recent years by young people, particularly in plastic arts, is a cause of wonder. For a growing number of people, art is meaningless and requires no meaning, basically just another form of entertainment. Banished from the world and the people in it, artistic endeavor has been isolated to form its own self-contained laboratory, increasingly seeking to formalize and mechanize the subjects of its investigation. The “orphaned subjectivity” left after the collapse of modern art is no longer something to rely on.
 
Even changing or redefining the nature of viewing will not suffice. Indulgent aestheticism closes itself off from viewing by segregating aesthetic phenomena into endless monologues, a fracturing that undoubtedly contributes to the social recession we are undergoing. This may explain the retreat from the physical object to allegorical works, or works that serve as allegories for things already forgotten, or whose existence is merely supposition. The learned Spanish scholar José Giménez stated: “We cannot reach the depths of our vision. But there are times…
The need for certain actions specifically addressing spiritual needs does not contradict or make obsolete physical tangibility. Quite the opposite, sculptures are their own construction sites, just as the works' boundaries necessarily transcend themselves. Art is not disassociated from material, the sanctions dictated by a material's physical qualities are those that allow for the dialectic of every human act. Man is a myth-creating creature, meaning an ideal maker, and the desire for an ideal is a wish for totality in transcendence. Art, however obtuse, is an attempt at dialogue, sometimes against the wishes of its creator and sometimes working against all odds. Historically, this has been and continues to be a constant theme. Rodin’s thumbprints in bronze, or Paleolithic Period fertility figurines – all are still relevant. Chaïm Soutine referenced Rembrandt and Francis Bacon referenced Soutine. There is no other alternative; this is a dialogue that must be sustained.
 
Prof. Ya'acov Dorchin
Artistic Director
 
 

Our New Home

The new school building was established as a cultural center that includes a comprehensive academic library and a large gallery presenting the temporary exhibitions of renowned artists from Israel and the world, as well as those of young artists.
In accordance with the Basis School vision, the new building also serves as a home for a community of artists. An entire floor is dedicated to personal artist studios where schoolteachers, as well as guest artists and students, may work and track the work processes.
The new Basis building is one of the most advanced study environments in its field, designed to constitute a home, community, a place of counsel and an abundant wellspring for its students. 
 
The new Basis building was designed and built to address the special needs of a school for plastic arts. Much thought was invested in the building design and choice of construction materials so that the final result would adhere to the Basis School vision, aspiring to nurture artists that are first and foremost people of culture. The new Basis building is seven stories, each designed to meet the needs and activities that are conducted there.
The new school classrooms are substantial spaces with high ceilings flooded by natural light. The school also includes workshops and new and modernized labs, fully equipped with tools and machinery, as well as computer labs with advanced computer systems and software. The workshops, labs, and computer rooms are open to all students also after school hours.
 
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