Tropic of Pulse
Braverman Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Uri Nir’s new solo show, Tropic of Pulse. The exhibition employs the gallery’s tiered, vertical architecture, occupying the gallery space with video-work and printed images alongside physical interventions. The attention to the gallery space, accentuated by the videos’ content and placement, acts as a sort of geological cross-section, presenting layers of activity, taken place over time, that have been concentrated into the space’s horizontal plane.
The exhibition’s central video, The Depth of the Breath is the Length of One Note (2009, 3:55 mins), was created in the gallery space a week before the opening, and documents a large-scale “timepiece” created specifically for and within the gallery space; A life-sized action figure of an astronaut hovers over the gallery’s ground floor. The figure contains roughly half a ton of sand, which flows steadily through a crack in its helmet. A hole has been drilled in the gallery floor, exactly beneath the helmet’s crack, so that the stream of sand penetrates through to the gallery’s basement level. The length of the video corresponds to the duration of the sand’s flow, which matches exactly the length of the second film screened on the ground level, One Note, thus realizing its function as an hourglass (the theme of the hourglass also represents blood-loss throughout the exhibition). The hole in the floor is accentuated to viewers by a red neon spiral that fits inside the hole itself, barely peeping over the edge. The neon light “paints” the darkened space of the two levels with a faint red glow.
On the lower level the pile of sand that flowed from the astronaut remains, also catching the neon light. Shot in black and white, One Note (2007, 3:55 mins) is comprised of two shots, musically interspersed. In one, a group of children stand before a piano, each child taking turns to play one key, pressing down until the emanating note fades completely. In the second shot the children are seen peering over the edge of the piano at rotating, egg-shaped forms, which spin on the piano’s smooth black surface. The children’s pressure on the keys propels the eggs, whose shapes shift with the note’s pitch. The single note, rising and fading, is the entire level’s soundtrack. Screened side by side on a single wall, the two films evoke two types of movement: the egg spinning before a stationary camera, and a camera that rotates around a vertical, moving column; these two motions reflect that the movement in the films preceded the final images. In the basement level, Mommy (2008) runs on a 28-second loop. Using fast, syncopated edited to combine two images, the video shows a pharaoh’s coffin installed inches from the ceiling, facing the floor, while a mummy lies on the floor below. The mummy is shown as sand streams into it open mouth, the source of the stream from the pharaoh’s nose. The video’s speed attempts to evoke a physical, sculptural presence, from the moving images. Created in the artist’s studio, the piece was orchestrated and produced entirely by the artist, alluding again to the physical presence of the piece. The pennywhistle soundtrack emphasizes the cyclical nature of breath.
The balcony level holds the black & white film 00:02:09 (2007), which shows jellyfish being injected with human blood, an acts that exposes the invertebrates’ internal makeup. The 2:09 min long film is comprised of a series of injections, one after the other. With each injection a skeletal, plant-like tracery blossoms, and the repition of the filmed act’s evoke a clockwork rhythm. Beside the film is the photograph The Flower Needs Water (2006), depicting the skeleton of an umbrella resting on a beach, jellyfish trapped in its delicate metal frame. A pile of posters sits on the gallery’s reception table, printed with the work Sphinx (also the image used for show’s invitation), which visitors are invited to take. Photographed in 2006 during the IDF’s “Southern Shalit” operation, the photograph takes place in Israeli territory, just tens of meters away from the Gaza/Israel border, and depicts the artist on the beach, in an awkward, almost unidentifiable pose. The pose affords a double reading: on the one hand, a long-haired human being, gazing into the horizon at Gaza; on the other, a long-tailed animal gazing at the water through a black veil.
Uri Nir holds an MFA from UCLA and a BFA from the Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem. Exhibitions include a solo show at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, the contemporary group show Real Time at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem and other central institutions including the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Martin Gropius Bau Museum, Berlin and the Chelsea Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. His works are featured in local and international public and private collections including the Tel Aviv Museum Collection and the ORS collection. Sponsors Protek