Shlomo Harush. NOW IS THEN AND THEN IS NOW
23.06.2023 – 17.10.2023
“Time gives all and takes all away;
everything changes but nothing perishes”.
BUILDING is pleased to present, from June 23rd to October 17th, 2023, a solo exhibition by Shlomo Harush, NOW IS THEN AND THEN IS NOW, featuring the Israeli-American artist who uses sculpture, painting, photography and installation to create multidisciplinary art. A selection of around thirty-five works created between 2002 and 2023 traces the most important stages of Shlomo Harush’s work by presenting his main research interests and his use of various materials such as plaster, paper and metals.
It is the recording and analysis of the passage of time that breathes life into the works on exhibit. By using materials that visually express change and possible decay, Harush narrates the human condition, portrayed in its state of perpetual metamorphosis. The artist achieves this by creating a metaphorical connection between the human experience and the works on display in the exhibition. Their rough and worn surfaces describe the possible variations and transformations of life.
Harush brings together contrasting and ambivalent symbols and archetypes, leaving the public free to interpret their meaning.Two guiding themes run through the exhibition, namely two symbols that have always been very important to the artist in his research. The first is the book, which Harush considers to be a sculptural subject, suitable for becoming an object capable of spreading beauty, where the word is the main medium. Not only is this considered to be a verbal vehicle, but also a sculptural object, which can lose its meaning and take the form of a visual element, sometimes fading into the arabesque. While in some artist’s books the study of the word prevails, in others it is absent with respect to the forms, which become the main feature. The exhibition, among other works, also includes a selection of artist’s books: these unique pieces are collections of artistic languages, “bound thoughts”, among which we find, for example, The Last Supper (2019) and Chess (2004), but also Now is Then and Then is Now (2023), a work closely connected to the concept of time, echoing the title of the exhibition and catalysing its meaning.
The second symbol that recurs in the exhibition is the chair. In this case, too, it is interpreted as pure sculpture: its functionality is omitted in favour of its sculptural potential. An example of this is Untitled – Sculpted Chair(2022) which, with its metal surface, illuminates the surrounding space: the light it manages to generate contrasts with the decaying material of the surrounding works.
NOW IS THEN AND THEN IS NOW extends throughout BUILDING’s three exhibition floors, which are organised as levels of a path ascending towards lightness. The most majestic works are exhibited on the ground level: among these are Fragile (2005-2023), a large metal mass that unfurls releasing a powerful light, and Untitled Horse (2023), a sculpture that presents an accumulation of weights, exploding outside the gallery.
The works on the first level focus on the flow of time and the signs of this progression. Their most immediate expression is found in the use of certain metals that over time and through different installations have undergone a series of changes, registering random and abstract swirls on their surfaces. This theme is further reinforced by the presence in the works themselves of certain mechanisms that will cause different elements of decay, and because of their motion, might change. An example of this research is No Title for Now (2021), a selection of mechanised works composed of organic and industrial materials, both solid and delicate.
The second level is dedicated to paper in its various forms, both sculptural and two-dimensional: in particular, 32,000 Titles (2011), a chair composed of thousands of Brooklyn Museum of Art library cards used over decades, in which Shlomo Harush finds a way to “recycle culture” by using these cards creating a new artwork.
It is an exquisite expression of the passing of time and with it the value that objects acquire thanks to the care of those who have handled and preserved them.
The exhibition brings together a large number of different artistic languages, expressed through different types of works created instinctively by Shlomo Harush, who has intercepted them in a mysterious inner place: they trace a path that takes the form of a collection of thoughts and creations that the artist has collected over the years. The numerous perspectives exalt the concept of time.