Ariel Schlesinger | Berlin 2008


March 14, 2008 – April 26, 2008

The art of the Berlin-based Ariel Schlesinger, born in Jerusalem in 1980, creates an intense contrast between the frankness of materials that might be found in cheap consumer products or left over from construction sites or office supplies, and the gospel of creativity for which they were originally intended. Such contrast gives the work the quality of a magic trick, as can be seen almost literally in L’angoisse de la page blanche (2007), where two white pages, seemingly without any outside force, move perpetually toward each other while spinning on their own axes. Yet at the same time, the  artistic process also acts as a form of sabotage, paralyzing the functionality of the selected objects. The exhibition also presents other, smaller sculptures, which provide further insight into the vast range of Schlesinger’s practice from 2002 to the present.

At the heart of the exhibition are two works produced this year (both untitled) as part of the limited Burned Turkmenistan Carpet series. The artist’s burning of worn-out, antique Oriental carpets relates to an experience he had at the Pergamon Museum:

“I recently happened to see a Caucasian carpet in one of the back rooms of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, which had been woven in the 16th century. Its huge dimensions and vivid Bordeaux colors struck me at first sight. But only a few minutes later, a second pattern revealed itself, one that was much more powerful than the pattern woven in the carpet. This other pattern was formed by scars the carpet received in a big fire in one of the museum depositories in 1945, in the last days of the war. But because the carpet was rolled up at the time, the fire wasn’t able to destroy the inner coils. This was what I was looking at right at that moment. The carpet owed its present appearance to a very careful restoration that had managed to preserve the trauma it had been through. I was fascinated by the idea that on the one hand, an object had endured a disaster, but on the other, the disaster had also created beauty.”

But these approaches are just one side of the process. The other side lies in confronting emptiness, and this turns the artist’s efforts into the revival of something dead.

Many thanks to the Dvir Gallery in Tel Aviv and to Bettina Klein for their support.