Zik group was founded in 1985 by several artists, most of them graduates of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. In 1990, the non-profit organization Zik for Visual Arts was established, which is still active. Since then the group has also had its own studio spaces. Throughout the years, central activity modes have been preserved: joint interdisciplinary work, relying on regular meetings, and focusing most saliently on the development of sculptural structures and concepts into live performances. The passing years have also seen significant changes: the group shifted from large outdoor performances to indoor ones, and keeps wandering between them; its visual design work, independent of performance, has expanded; group membership has grown, their professions have become more varied, and the group has turned to new directions – cinema, new media, and integral combinations of sculpture, performance, music and sound.
Work in the Zik group responds not only to a professional model but to a social one. The members gather twice a week in a hangar near Jerusalem. Membership in the group is manifested, first and foremost, by regular participation in these meetings, as well as members' desire to belong. The group, whose size has varied over the years, presently includes ten members (one of them female) and a production manager.
In Zik's outdoor performances, sculptural objects are built in front of the audience. These objects – some of which are huge – are moved, activated and transformed, and some of them are then burned. Such a performance, a one-off by its very nature and addressing a wide audience without charging admittance, establishes a powerful visual-auditory environment. Sculpture, coupled with action and time, is turned into a performance, while the performers remain involved in the process of sculpting.
In Zik's indoor performances, created mainly since its second decade of activity, a drama of transformations takes place. Materials and images don and doff shapes, in various focal points around the space. While Zik's outdoor performances are usually structured as an intensive process of construction, deconstruction and crescendo, the dynamic of action and movement in the indoor performances resembles a multi-focal, cyclic, potentially infinite collage. These performances, presented in relatively intimate spaces, address a smaller audience.
In the works created by Zik group, the boundary line between the performative aspect and sculpture is as thin as the blurred difference between creation and production, allowing for constant fluctuation between the fields. The varied backgrounds of the group members are mostly in visual arts. The focal element of the group's first performance was a sculpture previously exhibited in an art gallery, and among its works, in addition to performance, are sculptures and installations. Some of the static works show clear affinity to action or movement and are related to performative imagery, while the objects in the group's performances are remarkably sculptural.
Zik on Film
A central channel in Zik's interdisciplinary activity is filmmaking. While the group was aware of the need for documentation from its very beginning, its means were relatively poor then. Today, their documentation of performances and visual art is quite professional, faithfully conveying the works' nature. Film and new media serve as an additional creative channel for the group, both for documentation purposes and as independent products.
Music & Muzik
Music functions in Zik's works as one material among others. Its sounds are sculpted over time, shaping the space and timing the action. Being a fine art, music lends weight to Zik's aesthetic attribution, while also contributing to the blurring of the distinction between creation and production by expressing and framing the sounds of labor.
The book Zik Group: Twenty Years of Work considers the group's activities from 1985 to 2005. It is edited and designed as a product in its own right, with a distinctive visual presence and an outlook which is not limited to description and documentation. The book was awarded the 2006 Design Award.