There is, in the Middle East, a deeply engrained way of thinking about faith, politics, and history as being embedded in the land, in objects, and in structures. It is a place whose people talk about the ground itself as something holy. Because things are thought of as carrying in them historical, religious and political significance, the condition in the Middle East is, more clearly than probably anywhere else in the world, one in which power or ownership over a piece of land is impossible to disentangle from power over histories and ideologies—to build upon or destroy them, to excavate. The historical consciousness is geographical, geological; history lies below ground, bears strongly on what is built and demolished above ground. And so the political significance of architecture in my work lies not just in the sense that architecture informs the daily movements and habits of people, but in the awareness that materials and structures are carriers of information: history, economies, faith, sexuality, ideologies.
This relationship in which people imbue objects and structures with historical significance—and these, in turn, bear our histories back to us—is one way of looking at the dynamic relationship that exists between the human and the non-human. My work, as a study of architectures, acts as a port of access to this complex network between humans and things. My ideologies of design are generated by my preoccupation with this back-and-forth: the ways in which things are constantly shaping each other.
As I was developing my most recent work, Untitled 2014, I looked to familiar structures and objects that embody this dynamic of co-creation between people, things, and history; I thought about religious relics like the bronze statue of Saint Peter in the Vatican, whose foot has had its toes worn away by centuries of religious pilgrims coming to touch it; I thought about bathhouses, their walls puckered with sweat and steam and use; I thought about tombs and wetted beds, about public places for “cruising,” how the human body, its needs and proportions and secretions come to dictate the form and the texture of a structure.
In Untitled 2014 the form and the texture of the work is dictated as much by the human body and scale as it is by the same forces that the human body itself is subjected to and therefore it relates to a non-human scale as well. For example, the arches that constitute the walls of the structure are formed by the force of gravity pulling plaster-soaked burlap into catenary forms. When these inverted arches have dried, the action of lifting them vertically gives visibility to gravity as a tangible and generative force. To deal specifically in this work with gravity as a principle of construction is in a direct but subliminal way to demonstrate something about the politics of construction. Gravity, attraction and repulsion, solidification, and erection all become a part of the logic of construction, as well as of the materiality and temporality of the structure.
Lars Spuybroek, in his book The Sympathy of Things, writes about structure and ornament as being indistinct from one another in Gothic architecture. Noting ribs as both an ornamental and structural element, he writes that “reading ribs as primarily structure with secondary filling is thoroughly inaccurate; … the Gothic has nothing of the engineer's art … because it treats structural forces as equal to compositional ones, [which are] just as real and powerful”. In my last work I wanted to create a work that, like the Gothic, would be “configurational, not simply structural, and being configurational means it operates via interconnection, via patterning; all this is materialized,” he goes on to say, “though not solely for the transfer of loads. In a sense, the Gothic is even more materialist than the engineer's approach, since it extends the thinking in forces to the realm of the social, aesthetic, and religious”.
These ideas are constantly evolving in my practice - shifts in the geometries and materiality of my work, from the previous woodworking structures to the curvature of the most recent work, belie shifting and developing ideologies.
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
Yale University School of Art, Sculpture Department, M.F.A
Hamidrasha School of Art, Beit-Berl College
B.Ed.F.A (Excellence Programe)
Group Show - META_MORPH_ISIS, June 19-24, 2014, 8040 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA. 90048; Curated by Ben Foch for Black Paper (Upcoming)
Yale Sculpture 2014, StoreFront Ten Eyck, Brooklyn NY, USA (Upcoming)
Very Yes, Sculpture MFA 2014, Yale School of Art, Yale University, New Haven, USA
Roads Scholar, Iceberg Projects, Chicago, IL, USA
MFA 1st year show, Yale School of Art, Yale University, New Haven, USA
Solo Exhibition, Tempo Rubato Gallery, Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, Israe
Monkeys Nine people 2, Tel-Aviv, Israel
B.Ed.F.A Graduation Exhibition, Hamidrasha School of Art, Beit-Berl College, Israel
Monkeys Nine people, Multiple participants art event, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Schwartze Vilde Haya, Zemac Contemporary Art, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Libra, Group Project, The Spaceship at Hayarkon 70, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Marzipan Flowers, Inga Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Your Cat Is Dead, Hamidrasha Art Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Fannie B. Pardee Prize, Yale School of Art
Shlomo Witkin Prize -For Excellence In the Art Field, Hamidrasha School of Art, Israel
Excellence Program Scholarship, by The Ministry of Education Israel and Hamidrasha School of Art
The Office As A Studio - A Conversation Between Oren Pinhassi to Doron Rabina, 2010, Mahol
Art Magazine, Issue 1 ( translated to english by: Noam Arie Darom for Glasgow School of Art Reading Society)