Virtual Studio Tour – Ahuva Zeloof

Ahuva Zeloof is a London-based sculptor whose practice centres on an ongoing investigation of the female form. Born in Iraq, Ahuva was raised in Israel and continues to be influenced by the natural environment and architecture of the region. 

The Net Gallery was fortunate to capture Ahuva’s studio inside the Truman Brewery complex in London’s East End, a space she shares with the building’s maintenance team. The walkthrough of this fascinating studio space is available to view now via The Net Gallery website.

In this article, we share some images from the walkthrough, as well as a few insights from Ahuva about how she uses the space. 

Thinking Area and Hard Table

Ahuva’s seating or ‘thinking’ area and ‘hard table’. Image taken from scan footage captured by The Net Gallery.

In her commentary as part of the virtual tour, Ahuva talks about how her studio is roughly divided roughly into four areas – a thinking area; a ‘hard table’; a ‘soft table’; and a metal storage shelf. Speaking about the seating or ‘thinking’ area, Ahuva says:

“It is always important for me to have a comfy corner where I can relax and think, which is why I have this armchair here. Next to it are a selection of art books featuring artists that inspire me from Rembrandt to Dali via Modigliani, I usually take my breaks here with a cup of tea.”

In contrast, the ‘hard table’ is a space where Ahuva keeps stones and various implements, including percussion tools like mallets and hammers, different files, and chisels. It is also home to sculptures “in different stages of creation.” As Ahuva explains, “Some are raw stones; some are chiselled and polished and there are a few finished sculptures that are ready to have a rubber mould made.”

Ahuva working on a piece in her garden.

Ahuva talks about how she will sometimes work at her hard table on a piece “constantly, figuring out a shape, or just carving vigorously through the stone until the outcome I want.” Working this way, it is easy for a day to go by without Ahuva noticing the passage of time. During lockdown, however, the artist couldn’t work in her studio and moved her practice to her garden at home instead. Ahuva worked their “almost obsessively” on stones she had delivered and “without realising it” she says, ” a whole month had gone by and five new sculptures had appeared.” The two black stone sculptures shown on the hard table in the image above come from that period of production.

Soft Table and Metal Storage Shelf

Ahuva’s ‘soft table’ shown on the left and the metal storage shelf at the back. Image taken from scan footage captured by The Net Gallery.

As Ahuva explains, the main tools she uses on her ‘soft table’ are her hands, as well as small shaping tools used by ceramicists for clay. The area, materials and tools provide “a break from stone”, working with which, Ahuva says, “can be physically exhausting”. The soft table is also a place Ahuva can go if she feels mentally stuck and needs “time away from a sculpture to see it from a different perspective.” Shown on the table as part of the virtual tour are examples of the artist’s movement sculptures featuring women in yoga poses. Slowly adding wax to wire frames with her fingertips to create the pieces, Ahuva notes that the process is more relaxing, both mentally and physically, compared to the more strenuous action of working on stone.

Stationed at one end of her studio, the metal storage shelf provides Ahuva with space to house “mother moulds made from plaster, that have the rubber moulds of the sculptures nestled inside them.” The “amorphic shapes of the moulds” Ahuva concludes, are “visually stimulating”, while they also enable the artist to have her body of work around her, without always seeing the sculptures themselves. 

Ahuva Zeloof’s London studio. Image taken from scan footage captured by The Net Gallery.

Article by Richard Unwin.

You can view the full virtual tour of Ahuva’s studio, including a specially created video with commentary from Ahuva about the space and her practice, here.

You can follow Ahuva and her work via her ANV profile.

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