Born in Tel Aviv in 1973, Itamar Gilboa is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives and works in Amsterdam. He has always been inspired by the power of numbers and the influence of science. Gilboa’s works, based upon his own experiences living in Israel as well as in the Netherlands, are the result of thorough research and data collection. The body of work resulting from this research-based approach is consistent yet diverse.
Although diverse – Gilboa’s styles and aesthetics are wide-ranging, working in mediums including sculpture, video, drawing and painting – the work is not only consistent because of his scientific approach, it also shares a certain themes. Gilboa spent most of his artistic career researching factors that determine who he is – his cultural heritage, national identity and the changes he experienced migrating to the Netherlands, social networks and connections. These project can be seen as examples of the ‘quantified self movement’, in which visual artists collect data and use diverse technology to grasp and visualize their daily personal experiences.
‘Interestingly, as an artist I am not necessarily concerned with creating works that represent who I am. Rather I focus on larger subjects matters. Taking myself as the starting point in my work I am able to grasp these subjects. I am able to focus on consumption issues, migration or violence without being pompous. In this sense I see my work as social sculptures; in the end I have a story to tell’.
Recently, Gilboa created a sculpture installation consisting of over 8000 stark white sculptures, Food Chain Project. The installation was shown in 2014 at TEDxEde and at Nieuw Dakota art space Amsterdam. In 2015 it has been chosen to be part of EXPO Beeld Amsterdam Art Fair and in 2016 the series was part of a group show at the Van Gogh Museum’s Mesdag Collection. As of 2018 the full installation will be on display in LAM Lisse as part of their permanent collection.
For Food Chain Project Gilboa took his own consumption as a starting point, keeping a diary of everything he ate and drank for the duration of a year. Thinking about his personal consumption habits, Gilboa started to research the social implications of individual consumption choices on global food issues. By presenting the 8000 products he consumed in a year, Gilboa aimed to raise awareness and generate a wider discussion on global food issues. The installation is thought provoking and uses an inventive approach to point out our overconsumption, while hundreds of millions of people around the world still suffer from hunger every day.
Also in his earlier works Gilboa researched the meaning of cultural and national identity. The video installation “Rijtjeshuizen” (2008), for example, documented the experiences of Dutch people living in Israel. “I want to be Green” (2005), a video work featuring Dutch actors, portrayed the experiences of Israelis living in the Netherlands.
In the painting project “Chief of Staff” (2010) a social model founded on a chain of command orders and obligatory obedience, Gilboa investigated the structure of communication and commands within the Israeli army. Gilboa portrayed loyalty, obedience and the enormous belief in tradition and world orders using military cliché symbolism such as the enemy as a target and the fallen soldier as an angel. The series was shown in Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art. ArTies (2012), a commissioned work for the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, explored the visible and hidden social networks in the Israeli cultural scene.
Gilboa studied visual arts at the Avni Institute and performing arts at the Yoram Loewenstein Studio. He holds a bachelor’s degree in visual arts obtained at the Rietveld Academy Amsterdam in 2005.