Seventh Heaven

Seventh Heaven

Installation, Sacred / Mythological, Religion, Political / Social, Various materials, 1000x400x650cm
In Seventh Heaven, gold leaf and paintings are used to transform the space of the gallery. By gilding the floor of the gallery – an act that is as simple as it is absurd – the space is expropriated from the prosaic, quotidian domain. The light reflected from the gold floor envelops the paintings and visitors, marking the space and everything in it as belonging to a different realm. For the duration of the exhibition, the space exists as a suspended expanse – between a metaphorical or symbolical site to a function hall or a makeshift place of worship. Upon entering the room, for a moment the visitors become a part of that space, which continues to bear their imprints after they have left it.

This space contains paintings from two series, to which the viewer can turn in order to decipher and situate it. The paintings from The Bearded Ones in Seventh Heaven bring to mind illustrated manuscripts of an obscure text. The title refers to the “bearded ones” – a moniker used in political science for fundamentalist militants. The world that unfolds in the painting cycle seems to be rooted in coherent iconography, while in fact it conflates visual codes from mediaeval icons, fairytales, Mughal paintings, and esoteric literature. Alongside these hang large scale portraits of masked militants, between an icon and life drawing, an attempt to draw a portrait of a faceless man.

The installation was originally exhibited at Gabirol Gallery, a public art gallery set in an industrial building. It is the latest installment in the artist’s ongoing project which centers around the ambivalent image of fundamentalist in Western media. This image ambivalence exposes an emotional approach that oscillates between fear and fascination, and pushes the other out of the contemporary domain meaning, into a symbolic and mythical order. At the same time, it seems that some of these fundamentalist movement have adopted an arsenal of gestures, symbols and signifiers that formulate a mythical narrative played out in the media in real-time. The exhibition is located in the imaginary world that emerges from the projection of this shared fantasy.

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