Ghiora Aharoni incorporates found objects and cultural artifacts into her sculptures and installations, making each edition unique. Sundaram Tagore Gallery New York presents Inception, an exhibition that celebrates our shared humanity through an exploration of creation stories, by the New York artist Aharoni.
“The idea that we are all connected, that the fabric of humanity is inherently intertwined, is a theme that runs through much of my work,” says Aharoni. The Genesis Series assemblage sculptures are the focus of Inception. These intricate works incorporate iconography and text referencing the scientific, spiritual, mystical and cultural beliefs surrounding creation stories. The materials become his leitmotif, it is first of all the historicity that is convincing. Then it’s the fusion of antiquity and modern detail that catches your eye in the intrigue and intricate details and elements.
The Genesis Series
Aharoni started The Genesis Series in 2008, envisioning it as a dialogue between science and religion. For many, the story of Genesis, the biblical account of the creation of the Earth in seven days, marks the beginning of the world and, in essence, of time itself. On the other hand, the theories of evolution, which appeared in the 19th century, tell a story that began billions of years before the existence of humanity.
Rather than focusing on the dichotomy of these seemingly opposing viewpoints, Aharoni interweaves a multiplicity of belief systems in The Genesis Series. Incorporating antique and vintage religious artifacts, laboratory equipment and elements from the natural world, each illuminated sculpture becomes a self-contained symbolic universe exploring the fluidity of time and how various narratives merge and intersect. Individual sculptures from the series have been exhibited in museums and cultural institutions around the world, but this is the first time that seven works from the Genesis series – one for each day of creation – will be shown together.
Inception also presents equally complex works from corresponding series, in which Aharoni expands his explorations of the fluidity of beginnings and the interconnectedness of cultural narratives: Enuma Elish, The Immanent Transcendental and The Moses Cup. The image above is a work from The Moses Cup series, an assemblage of mouth-blown glass etched in 23-karat gold with sacred text in Aramaic and a golden rhyton (ancient drinking vessel).
The Moses Cup series references the Israelites’ seemingly unorthodox relationship with the golden calf. When Moses commands the Israelites to drink ground gold (the remains of the calf he destroyed) mixed with water, how the Israelites drank it is never described. Aharoni’s sculpture responds to this metaphysical void, expressing the transcendent energy evoked by an absent icon, a historical monument or a place of worship, disappeared or imagined. The beauty of these works is the elegance of fusion; the merging of several worlds and echoes the words of Anaïs Nin: “I could not live in any of the worlds available to me — the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign and recreate myself when I was destroyed by life. This is, I believe, the raison d’etre of any work of art.
The Israeli-born American artist, who is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Morgan Library & Museum; Centre Pompidou; Musei Vaticani; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, presents sculptures, multimedia installations and photographs that delve deeply into cross-cultural dialogue.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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