Opening: March 24th
Curator: Adi Gura
Braverman Gallery is pleased to invite you to ‘FORMULA’, a new solo exhibition by Reuven Israel.
For more than ten years, Israel engages with the sculpture medium and examines the possibility of sculptures to function as free agents, and the contexts that are constructed in the relation between them and the space where they are being placed. Israel’s works from the last two years are scattered at the gallery space: some of them are vertical; others are being leanon the wall; while others placed on the gallery floor. Shapes and forms that in a first glance seems as copper, plastic or porcelain fragments who are deceiving their identity as singular objects that are constructed by sawing, pasting and filing of MDF boards, that where severity painted. One thing all of those objects have in common, the rod copper that originally specified for electrical extension.
These central poles generate the free objects into sculptural events. In part of the works the poles are being served as a unifying factor, gigantic skewers of shapes and colors. The syntax that is merged between the different segments is forming a sculptural narrative. In other works the
rods serve as a polarize element, centered by the rod, comparable parts are being installed in front of each other.
In his works Israel is searching for compressed and symbolic manner of writing information and presenting a quantitative relation between numerous objects. These sculptures are reveling and replacing interpretations, which are being made accordingly to contexts and values created among the sum of the parts.
The word ‘Form’ is hidden within the name of the exhibition – ‘Formula’, which has multiple definitions: shape, pattern, structure, format, practice, arrangement; and as a verb: made, constructed, developed, and established. One of the associations from the word Formula is breast milk substitute which is given for babies. In the name ‘Formula’ Israel declares that his works are substitutes as well: handmade that simulates an assembly line, wood that disguise into copper and plastic, a sculpture that fabricates to a functional object.
The name of the exhibition also refers to formalism in art, an approach whereby structure and form are essential aspects in a work of art. But what happens when a matter reflects characteristics of another matter, and when geometric forms that are arranged side by side, or one in front of the other, suggest a symbolic interpretation? Instead of the term ‘formalism’ we can suggest the word ‘Formulaism’ or as Graham Harman describes it in the catalogue of ‘Multipolarity’, Israel’s solo show at Fridman Gallery,
New York (2015):
“When encountering the sculptures of Reuven Israel, the first word that comes to mind may well be “minimalism.” Though his works are more colorful and intricate than the sparse cubes and wall-mounted metallic frames of early minimalist art, he does show a similar spirit of material economy. If one agrees that Israel belongs vaguely in the minimalist orbit, and if one also reacts positively to his work (as I do), then Michael Fried is the first critic who must be confronted”. (1).. “In his 1967 breakthrough essay “Art and Objecthood”, Fried decries the “literalism” of minimalist art for merely placing objects in front of us, and identifies it moreover with a “theatricality” that subordinates the artwork to the viewer’s experience of it (2). Yet in his identification of the literal with the theatrical, Fried conflates two entirely different aspects of the human. The literal refers to an object that is nothing more than how it appears to us, or at least nothing more than its measurable qualities and exact spatio-temporal position. That is to say, it is a purely relational object without autonomous reality, and we can join Fried (and Greenberg) in regarding the non-autonomous object as aesthetically dubious. But the theatrical is something altogether different. The viewer who engages theatrically with an artwork is by no means engaged with its literal surface properties, but instead with the non-literal depth that makes it an artwork rather than an everyday object. (3)
One way of generating theatrical depth in the object is to produce a deformed version of a more familiar one that, as a known quantity, already commands our attention. Heidegger considers the case of a broken hammer: formerly taken for granted, but now leaving us stunned as its malfunction hints at an unknowable, recalcitrant depth. The very familiarity of the hammer is what gives its subterranean surplus so much disturbing plausibility, even as it remains mysterious.(4)
This trick can be found in Reuven Israel’s arsenal, as seen in works such as SBMLD4 and SBMLD1, which feel strangely approachable despite their harpoon-like protrusions. Why? Perhaps because we already know a good deal about barbells, syringes, and Tinkertoys, though none of these forerunner objects are literally present in a way that would bother Michael Fried. Nor is the effect of these works “syntactic,” as in Fried’s famous discussion of the sculptures of Anthony Caro. I would rather call the works “structural,” since each is clearly a unified object, though the character and purpose of these objects remains unknown and probably unknowable…”
According to Harman: “Much of Israel’s output is hypnotic, and this would not be possible if it merely presented objects literally. As is well known, the Fried of 1967 opposed “presence” to “presentness,” also equating the latter with “grace.” If we replace the confusing term “presentness” with “absentness” (an equally awkward but more accurate term) we will hit on
something equally important to present day philosophy and architecture: the search for the real as that which lurks beneath visible form even while being triggered or conjured by it. Israel is an artist of unusual flexibility with respect to the real. This sometimes animates the outward look of his works, but other times is best seen in their actions: spinning, leaning, drilling, and once in awhile surrendering. There is a freshness to these works of a kind that comes only from within— from the inwardness of the artist, and that of the objects themselves”.
Reuven Israel, (B. 1978, Jerusalem) lives and works in New York, gained his BA in Fine Art (2004) and his MFA (2007) at Bezalel Academy for Arts and Design.
Public installation: Setter Square, Tel Aviv (Commissioned by the Tel Aviv municipality), to be completed till April 2016.
Israel’s solo shows include: “Multipolarity”, Fridman Gallery, New York (2014); “Spotlight: Reuven Israel”, Wasserman Projects, Detroit (2014); “Superpartners: Reuven Israel, Shai Azoulay”, Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2011); “Fatima”, Braverman Gallery, Tel-Aviv (2010); “From Shapes to Forms”, Museo Civico Floriano Bodini, Gemonio (2010); “Range of Sorrow”, Montrasio Gallery, Milan (2009); “Reuven Israel”, Braverman Gallery, Tel-Aviv (2006).
Group exhibitions include: ״BENE•F•ACTION״, Andrea Meislin, New York (2016); “The Museum Presents Itself 2”, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv (2015); “The Museum Imagined”, Danese Corey, New York (2015); “Domestic Ideals”, Lesley Heller Workspace, New York (2015); “The Readymade Centennial”, Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa (2013); “No Place”, BAAD Gallery, Tel Aviv (2013); “Human Nature”, Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv (2013); “Curator: Yona Fisher”, Ashdod Art Museum (2013); “Tracing the Fish Bladder”, Radiator Gallery, New York (2013); “Re: Visiting Rockefeller”, Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, Jerusalem (2013); “Senses of the Mediterranean”, Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2011); “The Ministry of Culture and Sport’s 2009 Awards for Art and Design”, Herzliya Museum of contemporary Art (2010); “Il Segreto dello sguardo”, Galleria San Fedele, Milan (2010); “What Does Sculpture Want?”, Bezalel Gallery, Tel Aviv (2009); “Harlem States of Mind”, Museo Civico Floriano Bodini, Gemonio (VA) (2009); “In Silence”, rothschild 69 project, Tel Aviv (2008); “Young Israeli Art”, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Helena Rubinstein Pavilion,Tel Aviv (2007); “Flat”, Bezalel Gallery, Tel Aviv (2007); “Forms of Construction”, Eigse festival, Carlow, Ireland (2007); “Raw and Cooked”, University of Haifa Art Gallery, Haifa (2007); “Favorite”, Givon Art Gallery, Tel Aviv (2005); and more.
Reuven received several Awards including: Young Artist Award,
The Israeli Ministry of Culture (2009); the Legacy Heritage Fund Prize, Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2007); Rich Foundation Award (2006); America- Israel Cultural Foundation- scholarship (2004, 2006); Prize in memory of Ehud Elhanani, Department of Fine Art, Bezalel Academy (2004).
1Michael Fried, Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
2.Graham Harman, Reuven Israel’s Very Unilateral Theater, from Multipolarity, exhibition catalogue, Fridman Gallery, 2015, pp9-11
3.Graham Harman, Reuven Israel’s Very Unilateral Theater, from Multipolarity, exhibition catalogue, Fridman Gallery, 2015, pp9-11
4.Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson. (New York: Harper, 2008.)
* Text by Graham Harman courtesy of Fridman Gallery NY
* Beer on opening night courtesy of Shapira Beer
Tue – Thu
Fri – Sat
By appointment only
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 14:00