In his new exhibition “Carrots & Refreshments”, Amikam Toren will show two new series of video works from the years 2008-2009, a sculpture, and paintings from the series “Armchair paintings”.
About the videos: Twelve stories, strangely moving tales touched with humour, edged with the surreal. True stories, narratives of experience from the artist’s life, selected from a period of 40 years.
The precision of observation and the almost casual, natural humanity are arresting but, while the narratives themselves are deeply affecting, their form as voice-overs to fixed camera films of the scene of their occurrence has a powerful impact on our perception of location. Background and foreground, setting and story, softly change places as our listening and viewing shift as impulses to imagination.
Six short tales assembled into a seventeen minute anthology of acute reflection.
In Toren’s work the most elemental form or mundane object has its very material redeployed to suck out hidden meaning. It’s an alchemical process: a little assistance, a redistribution of resources, is all that is required to reveal the energy and significance contained within dull matter. Object, sign, experience, each and every casually accepted, and more often discarded, mundanity is open to challenge, transformation and adjustment, teasing out truths beyond its basic nature. In this exhibition, short deadpan videos, paintings and the orange peel sculpture are revealed as harbingers of formal and fanciful delight
Amikam Toren is showing in his first comprehensive exhibition in Israel works from four series.
Plan B is a three dimensional parallelogram built from 1500 wooden figurines, collected from different markets, representing diverse cultures and religions. The sculpture that looks like an architectural model combines esthetical tensions accumulating to a powerful effect of beauty, astonishment and wonder.
Insomnia institute is a series of drawings created through the observation of the emerging sculpture of Plan B. Therefore, the automatic drawings draw one’s attention back to the sculpture as though capturing the empty spaces between the figurines.
Clouds in trousers are five white overalls worn by artists during their work in a studio. Toren uses an unpicked trouser as a canvas stretching it on a wooden frame; he lets his brush wander on the surface until some image appears on the fabric while cleaning the excesses of paint on the overall. The line of overalls hanging on the wall inevitably invites some unpleasant images of a slaughter house.
Armchair paintings are oil paintings that one can buy at the market and antique shops. In the center of those idealistic and kitsch paintings Toren cuts out words or sentences, thus updating the painting and recovering the lost quality. The bare wall behind the painting becomes part of it as the letters cast their shadows on the wall. The paintings represent a postmodern irony as a work of art is upgraded through its destruction.
Naomi Aviv, curator