Description of works 2012

Many of my sculptures and installations being on-site projects use space as a lens to reflect a diversity of forms, place and a concern for intercultural issues. My work has an interventionist strategy where environment plays an important role in memory, identity, displacement, migration and recycling. Conceptually no space is neutral as we always create language inside language.
For many years I have been working with suspended forms and loops that use the ceiling as the principle place of presentation questioning the dominance of the floors and walls. Each installation uses materials that the viewer can touch, such as fabric, rubber, vinyl, found objects, paper, elastic, polymers and toys. Motion is created by looping, wrapping, hanging and spinning to camouflage the objects identity and communicate time. It is a mapping process, which explores the objects topography and spatial position. They are assemblages, which incorporate intercultural references with found objects that are recycled from different cultures. The feeling of sculptural handmade contact is part of my works’ conceptual and emotional tactility as a means of production. This is a reflection of cultural otherness, diversity and the challenge between high-tech and low-tech social subdivisions in a local and global world.

Expressive Systems. Loop curtains and Cultural Constructs 2010-2011
Drawing System:
Most recently I have been working with large and small-scale loop structures, which are derived from the wrapping and movement around objects. The loops are extensions circulating around 3 dimensional points in space. Working from the ceiling each point represented is a vertical line. When flat on the floor or wall they become drawing sequences, a continuous movement of interconnecting loops in which “the longest distance between two points is a curved line.” The play between negative and positive space and variations in a system of curves, connects scale, speed, time, space and expression.. The sculptures are perforated curtains with architectural rhythmic sequences. Optically, they create linear patterns, mirroring light within the holes, opening shadows and creating a translucency. Conceptually I focused on the linear syntax and fractile structure. The sculptural space, its affect, is framed by the architecture around it as in oriental screen wall constructions. I am currently experimenting with color and different materials such as polyester fabrics, laminated paper, polyethylene rubbers and canvas with polymers. In the future I will use acrylics and metals and employ industrial laser cutting techniques

In Loop Curtain in the City Museum in Ljubljana a 5 x 6 meters made of paper is suspended between two 19th century arches in the museum entrance backed by a courtyard. It is visible through a glass paneling on one side and the entrance hall on the other. It has vellum backing with a printed black loop drawing giving it calligraphic translucency and 3 dimensional contrast. Mirror Speculum (6x7 meters)2011, is a portable curtain in 5 parts made from plastic laminated paper in an industrial warehouse space seen in Studio View (2011) with Kind of Blue (2009-2010) a freestanding, three-dimensional loop assemblage on the floor made from cardboard and polymer.

Color and light is explored with Indian Head and Loop Configuration 2012 seen at Plan D in Düsseldorf along with Window Rhizome and Loop Lamp Suspenders 2012.

Along with my cut-outs, assemblages and mobiles I have been working on a series of small bronzes. These works show open and closed compositional variations in the use of loops and wrapping concepts. They are presented in a serial form, in relation to each and as selective maquettes for enlargements.

In the Gouda Museum for the Nederlands1 exposition, five of my works reflecting multicultural identity are juxtaposed to the 15th-16th century religious paintings from the permanent collection in the chapel. These works form an allegory mirroring everyday life in Amsterdam as a pop and intercultural experience. They are contrasted to the Christian typology, white homogeneity and the way minority figures are represented in the paintings. The Messenger is a loop made of swimming noodles in the shape of an angel stuck together with toothpicks. Un-natural Selection comments on social Darwinism and is made of a toy monkey covered in black polymers with a head set on, standing on a garbage can in front of a nativity scene. Paper Slipper Conference mirrors hard edge painting using Japanese paper slippers on bedsprings, attached to a school board placed on an easel, mixing cultures.

Other works are Umm, Mother, in Arabic (also seen in Gouda Museum hanging above the crucifixion painting) is a hovering galabia, (bedouin ceremonial dress) with kitchen utensils rapped in black elastic. It refers to the feeling of uncertainty of mothers in Islamic society confronted by western traditions. It is juxtaposed to Abba (2011) ‘Father, as a pendant (male- female motif) where black rapped objects, loop cut outs and strings connect to a rowing ore referring to forced migrations and boat people fleeing conflicts. Other works in the group such as Bedouin Topographies (2011) continue this theme of migration and displacement with an embroidered curtain from chest pieces of traditional Bedouin dresses used as a topographical landscape of absence and a portrait of place. Convivencia (2012) is a 6 meter loop pattern cut through burlap and coated with polymers. It suggest a  mozarabic mosaic through  the use of transparent polyester fabric which creates Morae patterns and simulates stained glass. It is made as a migratory object, which can be rolled and moved from place to place. These works, along with Mop Till You Drop and Passport are currently on exhibition at Hotel de Inmigrantes – Cosmopolitan Stranger, as part of Manifesta in Hasselt Belgium.

Other new works (2010) such as Another Indian Rope Trick (2011) 3.5 meters high uses ropes made of recycled candy rappers from Delhi India and polyester cloth to create a hard edge watercolor monument or new Indian Gate. China Syndrome (2010) 8 meters is made from a red Chinese lantern with polyethylene strings and rubber loops hanging 7 meters from the ceiling. These works form a diverse intercultural grouping dealing with Middle Eastern and Asian topics. They are migratory and as material assemblages are formed slowly as a bricollage of found images, creating dialogue, space, context and identity.
This concept of travel dialogues is also evident in my photo series Joe Goes Around the World. He is a 1964 GI Joe custom made into a cowboy in my childhood in the 60’s.He is photographed in over 30 countries as an interactive photo performance questioning the identity of American culture juxtaposing the world as your back yard.
As a Jewish immigrant, I have been confronted and concerned with the complex hybrid identity of the postwar diaspora in Europe. In my work this  is connected to absence and presence as memory, otherness and  cultural disappearance. In Rain (2009) wrapped objects in silver thread hang and form a transparent matrix in a hidden interior bunker space at the NDSM terrain in Amsterdam.The work creates a suspended domestic scene where the objects can be touched and spin to disappear. Satellite for Backyard Avantguard (2010)is a [mobile extension of rain].

This concern for memory is also seen in my wax emulsion memory prints, entitled New York Meltdown. exhibited with  Amsterdam images in the exhibition Retour, at House Frankendael 2010. I have used this technique to do large on-site photo projects at the Portuguese synagogue and earlier the Jewish Museum in Amsterdam. I have been working on a large series of photos of NY, which became connected to the financial crises and 9-11 changes since 2001. The boiled photos are optically connected to the loop structures as a perceptual system, which forms multiple elliptical viewing points in space.


Tangible Connections

Description of works 2004

As a sculptor and installation artist I transform space into place. My work has an interventionist aesthetic where environment and atmosphere play an important role in its meaning, my sense of place having to do with personal and cultural memory. No place is neutral as you always create language inside language; the place of presentation changes the context by which we understand the work. Each installation expresses its theme through the use of particular materials. Many works being on site projects use art as a liaison using materials, image and installation to reflect the social and cultural fabric of the place of presentation. In this sense my work displays a diversity of place, and a concern for intercultural issues, but certain formal motifs repeat themselves.

Over the past 5 years I have been working with suspended woven forms, made from rubber bands, found objects, tape, foam, ceramics, wood, steel, and resins that use the ceiling as the principle place of presentation questioning the dominance of the floors and walls. This reorientation is directly connected with my experiences in exhibiting in the Middle East and my concern for the use of architecture as an open language which houses memory.

The use of pop materials such as rubber bands is a signature in my work whether sculptures or performance. The material has simplicity and elasticity in hanging and the forming / rapping of objects. It has an absurd and erotic quality, which invites the viewer to interact, touch the works and make them spin and bounce. In this sense my sculptures use the hanging situation as a means to create motion in space, time, and identity.

So the juxtaposition of different images, a diversity of form and material, and the use of art as a social cultural process are a signature in my work that weaves the overall philosophy and concepts together. The methodology of the making of the work reflects the methods of cultural production of non-western cultures, this is especially apparent in the hand woven materials and in the use of the ceiling as the principle place of presentation. Place functions in my work as a crossing point between memory, location and imagination. Today we are continually exposed to image and form, which challenges traditional western compositional ideas. This stringing of concepts together is part of my strategy for communication. The new works entitled Memory-Strings create a sequence of surreal associations, fragmenting the narrative of the architecture where they are presented. I am currently working on a monumental installation in the studio that needs a 10-meter high ceiling.

New Works -Strings ­Con-Figurations

My new works entitled Strings made of permanent materials such as tape, wood, foam, paper and resin combines both found objects and biomorphic form in a monumental architectural composition. The sensitive handmade quality of the surfaces and the attention to their emotional tone and expression is a deliberate reaction to more prefabricated or media driven aesthetics. I continue to wrap the objects creating a time sequence and camouflage but on a larger scale with permanent materials. I want these works to express and inner directed dialogue both conceptually and emotionally. The scale of these new works are very important to the way in which they imprint and transform the language and atmosphere of the architecture .The pieces are designed for both indoor and outdoor spaces and public buildings. The idea is to combine both organic biomorphic forms with personalized found objects,[handmade-ready-mades], in a mixed history of suspended and hanging form. Once again the ceiling takes on a pre-eminent position in the use of the architecture as part of the installation. The images circulate around each other, in motion and composition, creating relationships and juxtapositions. They refer to personalized memories, within a fragmented surreal frame that create an inner cosmology. The narrative format is made to question and shift the sequence of meanings. The work questions the meaning of associative process in sculpture. How we construct associations emotionally and conceptually . The building is for me the frame which acts like a lens and becomes part of the sculptural language. In this sense these works have a site-specific quality as their combination and composition can change from location to location accentuating the meaning and language of the space.

In fact ,the orientation of these sculptures is critical of platonic form, its isolation and dependence on the floor and ground plane. Most museums and galleries do not utilize the ceiling as a presentation space. Historically this is a rather recent attitude. It is with this in mind that I have developed this sculptural orientation, to explore the many possibilities available on the ceiling. Each installation becomes something of an intervention and a negotiation as many institutions and galleries are unprepared for the use of their ceiling space. In the slides you will see a horizontal composition within the studio. These pieces can also be hung vertically, on top of each other creating strings of associations, and be used for monumental spaces up to ten meters. This is for both indoor and outdoor spaces. Furthermore you will see an installation sketch in a green house ,during an on-site event, Art Pro, Heerhugowaard, Thousand Islands. These pieces point to a new direction in my work in the development of handmade Ready-mades, hanging found objects, bimorphs, rubber, vinyl, foam and cast materials, such as resin ,silicon rubber and aluminum. Colored rubbers ,resin and cast aluminum elements will be important in the coming year.

Little Noodle Rhizome is an onsite piece made of rubber bands and found objects for the exhibition the Third Space in the Fourth World at EastLink Gallery in Shanghai China. The work composed of rubber, rubber bands, and found object is meant to satirize the idea of a hanging window in a Chinese restaurant referring to the ingredients in a bowl of Chinese soup. The images. A blow up Buddha doll, a calligraphy brush, a hanging horse, a long noodle and short noodle and perpendicular hangers a spinning dish are meant to talk about western stereotypes of Chinese culture while at the same time intervening in the space creating a transparent imaginary field of images. As in the earlier works these pieces are interactive and can be touched pulled and spin but most importantly are handmade in a manner referring to methods of production still current among large parts of the Chinese population. It is therefore a memory piece seen from my perspective as a western artist exposed to Chinese culture via popularized forms of exchange. Currently a small version of this work is hanging in the entrance of the Gate Foundation, Amsterdam.

The Anatomical Theater slide is an on-site installation at The Rijksbouwdienst voor Milieu en Vaccinatie Research, RIVM. This installation was made during the exhibition ‘Keramuse’ in Bilthoven .I was invited by the European Ceramic Werk Center to represent them. My installation combines hanging ceramics with latex and found objects covered in Polyethylene rubbers. The idea of the anatomical Theater is a parody referring to Anatomy Theaters of the past where interior body parts are observed for research. Some ceramic parts refer to bodily organs while others to consumed objects. The hanging concept again refers to the architecture as a skeleton in which organic material nerves, ganglia and organs and memories are suspended. This was a site-specific installation and I am currently working on large scale, colored suspended objects in the studio.

Joe Goes Around The World 2003

Children, Conflict and The Wonders of the World

What is the difference between Human Globalization and Global Humanization?

You turn on the TV to CNN World Report. There is a close-up of someone's face, a pan shot that fades out to a landscape in a region in the third world. Suddenly, a commentary at half view, another landscape panorama, a close-up, back to the commentator. Is the backdrop real? Or is it part of the flicker effect? The angle of view, the way the camera sees is part of the image sequence, accelerating the visual architecture. Subliminally you jump from image to image, actualizing these memories as the news. This visual architecture dominates the media. It is the shifting focus inherent in your eyes and in your ability to construct language from the visual field around you. It is a fragmented pictorial, you fill in the narrative.

There is no defense for culture, my relationship to image making is built on misunderstanding. I do not believe it is possible to avoid appropriation in image making? Even in this presentation, the staging of my images ­ no matter how spontaneous and unplanned ­ will happen in time. We always create language inside language because the experience of space, form and architecture is framed in the values of reception. Yet how can we use image to create meaning, which is layered enough to ask questions that will move the viewer beyond the theater of art?

In Joe Goes Around the World, I have appropriated my childhood toy, Joe the Cowboy, to deconstruct his image and question his identity. As a child I became him and him me, but somehow we always remained separate. The difference in my opinion is between the power of popular images and the actual time of human awareness. I have specifically juxtaposed Joe to religious sites, [ also popular images.], tourist sites, intercultural scenes, and fantasy landscapes which become defined by Joe's identity as a satire. All the while, I photograph him with people, children, adults, a policeman, Chinese restaurant workers, a Polish businessmen on 5th Avenue in NY, in the Amsterdam Red Light District, in Macedonia with skin heads, with Buddhist monks in China, in a sugar cane village in India, etc. The point is these photos are actions, street performances, spontaneous and momentary, which in the end are more defined by the background than Joe. In this way the pattern of creating subjects is very specific and obsessive. Have you ever heard yourself repeating some mantra about who you are! Where you are from? What you do? Stereotypes define your identity.

Or do they?

What happens behind Joe in the photos is real life, but what happens behind real life is Joe. The Taj Mahal, The Wailing Wall, The Empire State Building, The Mosque, The Old town in the West. All staged media until you are actually there but even when it is a familiar landscape, historical, religious, tourist sites are seen through the stage of history and memory. We familiarize ourselves with cultural identity through popular images.

Joe as a popular image becomes very contradictory when placed in the hands of a child. Children transform time and space. Reorganize the context. In their fragile anonymity, they struggle against media. In their eyes they resist becoming a popular icon. Why? Because for the viewer, they are layered with emotion. We politicize them differently than pop icons or The Wonders of the World. We struggle to be human. We may loveJoe for his Western values. Or we may hate him for them. We separate ourselves from him, but we are like him... appropriating images... acting like image nomads… He is the embodiment of The Western Hero,. The Good The Bad The Ugly. He is a humanist, because he also represents liberality, play, secularism, The New World. A Cultural Revolution. He is an immigrant. He represents a movement away from cultural ethnicity or cultural authenticity.

Or does he?

I want to use my childhood to evoke reactions from the viewers, to pull out peoples prejudices, to challenge their morality, to see how aesthetics and ethics combine. Many people love Joe, but others hate him. I realized a long time ago that I was spoon-fed history as a child, which was perversely oriented towards the new European civilization in America. Westerns are surreal intercultural films. Entirely staged events. The dialogues are often psychotic. You don't want too watch the good family, who runs a store and sells socks. We want the great conflicts of old between good and evil. I am stripping Joe's identity, he is a mask or persona. I don't agree with his image of humanity, so I use him to question my own identity and the identity of others. Some say he is my alter ego. Some catch the layering. These are photos after all. See them in a serial form like some Christian narrative fresco pictorialized on the church wall. I try to remember that media today tells a story.

Yet is Joe, as advertised, a man without compassion? Or is he, as we like to see ourselves, a man with compassion?

In this project, I want to question the fact that all art, if visible and historicized, becomes popular imagery and is used for other strategies. My work is a satire, but I'm not going to try to convince you of that. At this moment, there are serious ideological and religious conflicts in the world. I believe more than any other reason it is because of the way we frame and stage images. That is what we buy, what we make, what we exchange, what we see, what we want, and what we don't have but what's most important, is what it means. Children are always global in the most local place. They are open to images. So what will we feed them? Ask yourself.

Do they want Joe? Or does Joe want them? Do we become our own popular icons? Are we consumed by what we consume?

Hard Boiled New York

Wax-treated Photographs

These Memory Prints have a painterly skin where images are impressed on the surface of the photo paper, the way image is impressed on the imagination in memory. The waxed displacement process spatially distorts the images giving a three dimensional and dream like quality which mirrors banal scenes of everyday street life in NY, transforming them into impressionist photo landscapes. These works play with the use of artificial materials such as plastics, emulsions and printing processes. Many images have a density and contrast, which use the lines and color planes inherent in American street scenes. Billboards, signs and displaced spaces express my interest in visual fragmentation and transparency mirroring contemporary urban architecture. These photographs are not digitally manipulated.

Curriculum Vitae

Download my latest exhibition list here.