Iris Dwir-Goldberg – Sons of Light, Sons of Darkness – 14 septembre – 23 octobre 2009

14 septembre – 23 octobre 2009

Iris Dwir-Goldberg

Sons of Light, Sons of Darkness



Digging in the past: how the beautiful engravings of Iris Dwir-Goldberg bring her country’s history, the roots of her language and her interest in mythology to life.


Upcoming artists are usually inspired by parents or other artistic family members who are involved in the arts. In the life of Iris Dwir-Goldberg the most important source of her early inspiration consisted of the legends and mythological stories that her mother told her when she was a child. Those first memories came out as naïve, colorful images of painted imaginary landscapes. Later on she added three dimensional material, applying enamel to (pieces of) glass and old mirrors that would otherwise have been thrown out.

Born and raised in Israel, Iris went to art school in Tel Aviv, specializing in architectural drawing, model building and interior design. After having finished her studies she worked in an architectural bureau for more than a decade. But even though she loved creating the small-scale interiors and models that came with her profession, she never stopped painting. In 1988 she moved to Switzerland, where her new life opened up the opportunity for more time to paint.


It is clear that Iris always loved to work with her hands, or as she puts it “I need to touch the material I work with.” She joined the Atelier-Galerie du Magnolia under the inspiring direction of Anne-Laure Aebischer in Lausanne, where she began to produce large abstract paintings, experimenting with sand, cloth and sponges, painting with her fingers rather than with brushes, to create images with a clear marked texture. Working with acrylic paint she tried to achieve a three dimensional effect as well. Continuously looking for new techniques, and eager to learn, Iris’ work evolved from painting into engraving. In 2001 she began to engrave at the atelier “Aquaforte” with her teacher and good friend Monique Lazega, aquaforte referring to the special etching solution used in the engraving process.

Engraving is a very manual and three dimensional form of art also, while the acids create uneven and textured surfaces in the copper plates. Iris especially loves the unexpected results of the process.


Her biggest inspiration, her “model engraver” is William Blake, the English poet, painter and engraver, who passionately believed in the liberating effects of the imagination, and whose own books were printed directly from a copper plate. Blake was also very fascinated by language, mythology and mystic philosophy. Iris has seen much of his work in exhibits, including some original copper plates. In her engravings we find similar aspects, brought forth by her interest in the history of writing and historical alphabets that sometimes took her back to the roots of her mother tongue, Hebrew. “I am very interested in these things and have been to archeological sites in Israel, where I was literally digging for the past of my people,” she says. Those visits would always inspire her to create new work: her work displays the same earth tones that she encountered on her quest for ancient alphabets and signs: burnt umber, ochre yellows and deep reddish Sienna tints. But there are also bright aquamarines and cerulean-tinted hues, all usually applied to special 350-gram textured engraving paper. Trees play an important role in her work as well, clearly and abundantly rooted in artistic soil.

We also encounter the mythological and mystic figures, and urns, sometimes in one piece, sometimes broken, with the letters of a historic alphabet dancing across the image. Because Iris learned the ancient Hebrew alphabet, she uses texts from old Hebrew stone inscriptions and from the Qumran scrolls, as well as imagery from original coins.

Even the title of her exhibition is inspired by a Qumran scroll, written by the Essenes: War of the sons of light against the sons of darkness. “This scroll was found in 1947 in the Dead Sea area,” she explains, “and contains an apocalyptic description of wars between God’s followers and their enemies. Some of my works contain fragments of texts from this and other scrolls.”


Iris has exhibited her work both locally and internationally, in solo and group shows. What is her next project? “I would like to explore sculpting” she told me. It sounds like another perfect medium for her, and we eagerly await the results.

Enjoy the show!


Gusta van Dobbenburgh



Sons of Light, Sons of Darkness, Engravings by Iris Dwir-Goldberg

Date: September 14 – October 23, 2009

Vernissage: Thursday, September 17, 18h00 – 20h00

Place: EL Building Room ELA010

Hours: Mo- Fri 8h45 17h00

Information:  tel. 021 691 1188