Passage: International Art Encounters
Project No. 6
The joint exhibition of the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa and the Israeli artist Nir Alon is the 6th project in the series of Passage: International Art Encounters, taking place at the Chelouche Gallery for Contemporary Art.
At this exhibition Jaume Plensa (born 1955 in Barcelona, Spain) presents an installation of round, bronze gongs lit in the center and floating in the Gallery’s space. Two pairs of words are engraved in the middle of each gong: “water-fire” – “hair-bold”. A drumstick is hanging near each gong and the visitors become active drummers i.e. participants in the installation. Each gong has its specific sound and when hit, a sequence of different sounds is sent into the air, onto the visitor’s body and Gallery walls. In another corner Plensa hung a sculpture made of blown glass drops hanging from a white cloth. The feeling of hovering, the lightness of the glass in contrast to the rigidity of the bronze, the dramatic use of the light, the gongs’ sounds floating in the gallery’s space altogether create a sensual dreamy, enchanting and theatrical ambience.
Next to him, Nir Alon (born 1964 in Tel Aviv, Israel) presents a sculptural installation comprised of two objects: the first – “Observational Learning” – consisting of a desk painted in white, held by 2 office lamps, the one supporting and the other balancing it. The lamps illuminate drawings outlined directly on the wall. The second object – “Applied Behavior” – consists of a perambulator wrapped in masking tape, which simultaneously supports and is supported by an office lamp that illuminates the perambulator’s seat.
The inner light source creates a shadow, which by withdrawing from the works disentangles from the object. At the same time the illumination creates a shadow that defines the object, which causes the physical object to dismantle, leaving an imaginary space in the wall.
Jaume Plensa and Nir Alon create a genuine dialogue, which enriches them through their differences as well as their similarities. The affinity between both artists appears not only through the sound and the theatrical light that defines its surroundings, but also through their placement and installment, which creates an elevation (by means of hovering). The use of light and shadow causes the works to be a bit floating and slightly disengaged from the immediate surroundings, as though it was a fantastic reverie. On the one hand the light makes the work distinct, and on the other hand causes its isolation. The abundance of “disengaged” works finally creates a hovering, illusionary, dreamy and somnambulant environment, which can be interpreted as detachment from reality, autistic- or astronaut-like – disengaged, but at the same time also looking down, floating, receiving and transmitting some kind of essential, focused and principal matter.
Both artists are somewhat theatrical in their approach in the sense of creating scenes (similar to those in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland(Dreamland)/Through the Looking-Glass” etc.). Thus, the exhibition turns into a quasi-theatrical performance, in which the scenery is detached from the immediate reality, yet reacts and is related to it.
The acquaintance with the installation is made by way of walking through it. Its location in the space determines both movement and sound. The act of watching through the body creates a sensual-physical definition. Both artists build an environment in which there is equal place for both the visitor and space, but whereas Plensa invites the spectator to take part in his work, Alon creates a quasi-theater, leaving the spectator outside.