Micha Ullman

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Micha Ullman (Hebrew: מיכה אולמן‎, born 1939) is an Israeli sculptor and professor of art.

Micha Ullman (2006)


Micha Ullman was born in Tel Aviv to German Jews who immigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1933.[1] As a teenager, he attended the Kfar HaYarok agricultural school.[2] In 1960-1964, he studied at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. In 1965, he attended the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, where he learned etching.[2]

Ullman is married to Mira, and lives in Ramat Hasharon, Israel.[2]

Academic career[edit]

He taught at Bezalel Academy in 1970 - 1978. He became a visiting professor at Academy of Arts Düsseldorf in 1976. He taught at the University of Haifa from 1979 - 1989. He was appointed Professor of Sculpture at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart from 1991 to 2005.[3]

Artistic career[edit]

Havdalah, Micha Ullman

Ullman created the underground “Empty Library” memorial on Bebelplatz square in Berlin, where the Nazi book burnings began in 1933. The memorial consists of a window on the surface of the plaza, under which vacant bookshelves are lit and visible. A bronze plaque bears a quote by Heinrich Heine: “Where books are burned in the end people will burn.”[4] This memorial was inaugurated in May 1995.[5] (see book burning). Ullman explains: "It begins with the void that exists in every pit and will not disappear. You could say that emptiness is a state, a situation formed by the sides of the pit: The deeper it is, the more sky there will be and the greater the void. In the library containing the missing books, that void is more palpable. We expect [the books] but they are not there."[2]

In 1997, Ullman completed a synagogue memorial in collaboration with Zvi Hecker and Eyal Weizmann, commemorating the former Lindenstraße synagogue in Kreuzberg.[6]

Another of his creations is "Hochwasser" ("Flooding") on a small island near the Werra River in Germany. It was inspired by a boat Ullman saw there with a sign on it stating it had a capacity of up to seven passengers. Ullman's father, Yitzhak, who had lived nearby, immigrated to Palestine with his seven siblings in 1933.[2]

Sculptural style[edit]

Ullman creates subterranean sculptures, some of which barely protrude from the ground. They touch on universal themes such as the meaning of place and home, absence and emptiness. They have been described as simultaneously "celestial and earthbound, metaphysical but sensual and tactile.[1]





Ullman was awarded the Israel Prize for sculpture in April 2009.[1][7][8]

Awards and Prizes[edit]

Outdoor and Public Art[edit]

  • 1983 Sky, limestone, Tel Hai, Israel
  • 1984 Ben Hinnom Valley, iron and cable, Jerusalem
  • 1984 Lot's Wife, earth, Mt. Sodom, Israel
  • 1989 Jesod (Foundation), cement and sand, Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv
  • 1991 Schodnia (East), asphalt, Lodz, Poland
  • 1992 Sea Level, cast iron, sandstone and glass, 22 Allenby St., Tel Aviv
  • 1992 Niemand, corten steel and red loam, Gropius Bau, Berlin, Germany
  • 1995 Bibliothek, cement and glass, Bebelplatz, Berlin, Germany
  • 1996-1997 Water, Zion Square, West Jerusalem and Freres Street, East Jerusalem

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Michal Lando. Art that hints at big questions, The Forward. April 22, 2009
  2. ^ a b c d e The Accidental Sculptor, Haaretz
  3. ^ Galerie Cora Hölzl. Micha Ullman, Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  4. ^ Edward Rothstein. In Berlin, Teaching Germany’s Jewish History, The New York Times, May 1, 2009
  5. ^ Jennifer A. Jordan. Structures of memory: understanding urban change in Berlin and beyond, Stanford University Press, 2006. P. 103. ISBN 0-8047-5277-X
  6. ^ Jordan, p. 149
  7. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site (in Hebrew) - Recipient's C.V."
  8. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site (in Hebrew) - Judges' Rationale for Grant to Recipient".

External links[edit]