Artist in Focus: Oren Eliav

June 26, 2020

Keeping with our virtual conversations, we have been checking in with our artists to understand how the recent pandemic has influenced their studio life and routine. This time, we caught up with Oren Eliav to get a glimpse of the artist’s studio, work, and thought process.

HOW DO YOU DRINK YOUR COFFEE?
Black, no sugar. Thanks.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST FASCINATED BY THESE DAYS?

In the last years I’ve been under the hypnotizing influence of Thomas Pynchon’s novels; the intricacies and wonders of quantum mechanics (through the work of italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, among others). Electronic music in all its various forms fills my days (and nights), with proper techno usually being the dish of the day. In general, I find everything is fascinating when given enough attention. Nothing is boring.

DO YOU HAVE A STUDIO ROUTINE? WHAT IS IT LIKE?
I’m in the studio almost every day, full day. From the mundane to the spiritual, there is always work to be done. To say “studio routine” points to the notion that there is freedom within discipline. Things can evolve or decay while being in the studio. This can happen during the course of a single day or spread out over weeks and months. The studio has a rhythm of its own.

CHOOSE AN OBJECT IN YOUR STUDIO THAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU. WHAT MAKES IT MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN OTHERS?
My club-sized speakers. I need a good daily dose of bass and kick in my life. Then, obviously, all the painting tools and materials.

WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?
Exactly right now I’m reading Julian Jaynes’s “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind”, but I would like to highlight the unbelievable creation that is “Against the Day”, by Thomas Pynchon and the beautiful book “The Order of Time” by Carlo Rovelli. Both books inspired me greatly.

WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WANTED TO BECOME AN ARTIST?
There was never such one moment, I don’t think. Choosing a life of creating is done on a daily basis, one creative act after the other. It’s not confined to art making, by the way. It is just the decision to make something out of something else – transforming. We all know this motivation because it is the natural state of any child. As one matures, this can evolve into a strong habit, something that you organize your life around. So, one choice informs the next, painting after painting. This, for me, is  “becoming an artist” (and it can only be realized in retrospect).

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
I’ve been working for a long time on “Mount Zero”. It is an exhibition in four chapters corresponding with the four floors of BUILDING gallery in Milan. The chapters are “Feet of the Mountain”, “Crossing”, “Crossing at Night” and “Equalizer”. Together they will offer its viewers an immersive experience, and, I hope, an awareness of time and a connection to space, two fundamental aspects of being alive that are certainly challenged in these Covid days of crisis and uncertainty. The Exhibition is supposed to open this coming September, circumstances permitting. “Mount Zero” will be accompanied by a book and also by a 3D virtual reality exhibition, two aspects of which I am very excited about.

 

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