In a city where most art venues are stark, white cubes designed to focus all attention on the works of art, the Meitsag Gallery stands out.
Established by Tali and Kuti Navon in 1989, Meitsag is a frame-making and art space where a surprising variety of paintings, photographs, mirrors, and empty frames coexist with a wealth of antique cigarette lighters, ornate rugs, and stylish furniture. “We display art and items that we like,” Tali states simply.
Tali, who was born in Givatayim, studied art at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design as well as at the Kalisher School of Art and Kuti, who grew up in Jerusalem, studied photography.
“We wanted to do something in the art world and we found this space,” Tali recalls, adding that after completing her mandatory service in the IDF, she had worked in a frame shop for a while and really enjoyed it.
The couple decided to specialize in making frames because that would allow them to support themselves while remaining actively involved in the art world. At first, the Meitsag Gallery was a small venture taking up a small part of a building on Judah Halevi Street in Tel Aviv, but over the years, as they learned more about framing and dramatically improved the quality of the frames available in Israel, their business expanded.
Unlike many frame makers in Israel, they produce only wooden frames using raw materials that they order from Europe. Some of the wooden frame moldings are custom designed for them by European craftsmen.
“We go to trade fairs in Italy every year and order from the best craftsmen, who generally do everything by hand,” Tali says, recalling that upon meeting a craftsman who had dirt under his fingernails, she decided immediately that she wanted to work with him because it was obvious that he did the work himself.
Words by: Heidi J. Gleit
This is an abridged version of a longer article which appears in ERETZ Magazine Issue 146 (May-June 2014). For more details click here
Photograph: Tali and Kuti Navon with their sons Yanay and Noam
Meitsag Gallery: 33 Judah Halevi Street, Tel Aviv. Tel.: (03) 517-5335. www.meitsagallery.com