Naama Hadany Interviews Assaf Evron
NH: How your transition to Chicago influenced your work? Do you think there is a connection between language and translation, and this split, on the way you work here?
AE: Language is a good entry point for this discussion, since we both grew up in various countries where we arrived as complete foreigners to the local language. I think at that early ages it gave me a great significance to the visual as a way extract meaning by looking and speculating. Structurally it was a very early understanding of the fluidity of language or languages. This position of being a foreigner to the language you dwell in is very interesting on one hand it is very frustrating, you are never an insider, you never understand “the complete” meaning. On the other hand language is never transparent for me it is never obvious. This gaps in understanding brings in the need for interpretation, speculation, misunderstanding, which is actually challenges the fixed meaning of language. I feel very much like as playing a role of a dilettante, which enables the freedom of hermeneutics.
NH: Did it influence the indexical relation of your work?
AE: I am interested in simple and direct images for that they have qualities that play on the iconic, symbolic and index. At one point my works were referred as mute realism. As if they are talking but their speech is inaccessible or blocked. I like to think of hieroglyphs simple and direct images that as a dilettante you know they carry meaning but this meaning is not accessible, you can only imagine or speculate. This is the privilege of the photographic indexicality (which can be applied of course to painting and sculpture) there is an origin a source that is engaged in the exterior worlds, and in that sense the work is engages with existential, cultural and political context. But on the other hand the index is a point of departure to an open ended meaning. In a way it is a trajectory from fixed meaning to a loose meaning an for the viewer it is an open riddle the goes between what it was to what can this be (in a sense this is a modernist question). As an ideology I think it is important to try and dodge the fixed or the closed and in that way you can think of that process as translation as in Benjamin’s task of the translator, it stretches the possible meaning of language.
NH: I think of these conversions and movement of yours between photography, painting and sculpture as various mediums to move on their surface, as a way to declare all of them as an image: An image in term of the archive, as multiplicity and overlapping of time and space. In this sense, Aby Warburg is an intriguing context to your work as a sort of moment when the archive is trying to set the world to find or invent its logic.
AE: The question what can this be or what it is like opens another world for the work to exist in. I is in a cyclical continuous conversation with images from the history of art as well as with popular culture. These understanding of the movement of images in the world of images is greatly inspired by Aby Warburg’s “atlas memosine”. And to your question Warburg represents a pre disciplinary or pre scientific burst of creativity. An open ended accumulative practice that later trough out the 20th century was formalized and “sunk” into the language by his students. (i.e. Panofsky, Gombrich). In that way it is also interesting to break the artistic series as well is a fluidity of the mediums.
Coming from the tradition photography I learnt to work in series. And I do work that way with potential series. Though it is interesting to think of the series as an iceberg that only the tip is seen and juxtaposition works from various series to create new syntax (like language it is a play on the relationship between arbitrary – random – contingent).
The movement between the mediums offers a possibility to think about photography by making sculpture about painting, by making photographs etc. As a whole this cross mediums practice accumulates in the exhibition space into this awkward ontological setting or constellation like a special de Chirico metaphysical painting or a science fiction movie set. (Work as a prop setting or a setting of props). Since we started with language, recently I think more and more about theater and stage design. Only the works are the actors the objects have agencies and communicate a non-literal possible meanings to their audience. I hope.