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OPEN CLOSED OPEN: AVNER SHER // WORK IN PROGRESS – PERSONAL MAP SINCE 2008: NEZAKET EKICI
26. Oktober 2019 - 16. Dezember 2019
Avner Sher’s works are typified by an act of violent wounding. He works with cork boards and cork peels—a porous, resilient woody substance. The external tissue cells of the cork oak trunk die and are replaced every few years. New cells emerge out of the trauma, preserving the tree’s appearance, which continues its physiological rejuvenation and growth. A material capable of surviving wood fire, the cork represents the cycle of birth and revelation, death and resurrection, often informing Sher’s practice. Operating like a surgeon, he paints, sculpts, and carves with various knives in the wooden substance, conjuring up images from different strata of consciousness.
The exhibition takes its title from Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s book, Open Closed Open. [Yehuda Amichai, Open Closed Open: Poems, trans. Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld (New York: Harcourt, 2000)]. Amichai discusses the peeling of history’s layers, moving like a pendulum between times, broken feelings, and memory fragments which entrench themselves in the mundane reality. Sher—an architect by profession—delves into historical monuments and geographical signs imbued with the imprints of erosive time, spawning new configurations, either concocted or based on ancient maps.
Ten obelisks bearing imaginary signs and symbols of the ten plagues of Egypt welcome the viewer. Their installation as an arc of triumph echoes Brandenburg Gate—an emblem of victory saturated in domination and terror. Excerpts of old maps of Jerusalem and Berlin are placed on the gallery floor like a jigsaw puzzle, pieced together, recounting a fictive story which nevertheless touches upon the acute reality.
The fracture and its healing, deconstruction and reconstruction, as well as the tension between past and present—among the features of both Jerusalem and Berlin as two divided cities transpiring along a seam—introduce spatial and political questions. Through the three-dimensional floor installation and its images, they echo thoughts about tourist-oriented miniature models of historical processes and events. Concurrent with Sher’s solo exhibition about mapping, the project room features video that based on Interactive Performance Installation by Berlin-based Nezaket Ekici:
Work in Progress – Personal Map
Ekici’s artworks derive from multiple subjects, including everyday situations, her dual cultural background (Turkish & German), and the history of art. Her confrontations with the ordinary allow Ekici to explore the various social and cultural atmospheres in which she operates. These confrontations are then translated and expressed as performances and art installations.
In Work in Progress – Personal Map, Ekici traces the paths of journeys she has made since 2008, using her body as a means of expression and investigation. In a performance lasting over 6 hours she recounts her numerous works, while weaving in anecdotes about personal experiences collected in more than 150 cities, 50 countries and four continents. Armed with nails, a hammer and red string, Ekici weaves a web-like network on a white wooden panel, all the while keeping her audience in the context of her work. However, her Personal Map is not a relic; it is an artwork in its own right, in the form of a floor installation. The subjects she deals with are related to time, movement, space, material, the body, action, and interaction. However, sufficient space is left for the viewer to elaborate on personal or cultural associations and new possibilities.