House, by Uri Aran
There are many possible triggers when one steps into an art show and when experiencing a contemporary art exhibition; all the senses are allowed and should eventually be challenged. This is exactly what the artist Uri Aran does in his current show at GBE (Gavin Brown’s Enterprise) in New York City, on view until April 5, 2020.
Uri Aran (b. 1977, Israel) lives and works in New York and studied Design at the Bezalel Academy Jerusalem before graduating with an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University in New York by 2007. Aran’s work encompasses a vast range of media, including film, sculpture, drawing, assemblage, painting, which he wisely arranges in space ultimately creating a massive but unified art installation.
GBE opened a new gallery space in Harlem in 2016. This space is everything but a conventional white cute and the magic of its structure comes exactly from that identity. The 19th century building GBE currently occupies, used to be a brewery and most of its architectural features were kept intact, including the bricks and the beams that were intentionally left inside the exhibition space.
This solution somehow mirrors what GBE intents to be; by exploring the physicality of the building as a proposal or maybe a challenge to their artists, inside a cathedral-like architectural space where its skeleton is more than just a host for art objects. As a result, every single show presented for the past three plus years, from artists such as Ed Atkins (Opening Exhibition), Dara Friedman, Rachel Rose, Avery Singer, or group shows as the most recent Bethlehem Hospital with works from Thomas Bayrle, Stan Douglas, Jasper Johns, Joan Jonas, Mark Leckey, Willem Oorebeek, Adrian Piper, Frances Stark Sturtevant, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Anne Truitt, Jack Whitten tend to be an upmost aesthetic experience greatly aided by the structural greatness of this craftly design lighted home.
Uri Aran’s show welcomes the visitor on the ground floor with an introduction to the unexpected features of his eponymous House. Here, we are received by video, paintings, prints, other works on paper and a wall installation from 2020, sharing the common kitchen space on this first floor, entitled Bread Library, that is only that, a wall of wooden shelves with carefully organized, white and wheat whole breads.
What could potentially be a metaphor for the artist’s personal homey domestic space, ends up transposing those limits, while exploring scenes of a quotidian that can be encountered on less intimate and rather protruding public areas. Nonetheless, the personal and intimate are frequently drafted throughout the spaces and the works, with references to pets, as in the work Fish Food Vs Turtle Food or in the whole fourth floor where the sound of the single channel video Clean echoes what may or not be understood as love declarations to a dog (My fucking dog). Even what could sound offensive or disturbing, after wandering and spending time in Uri’s House, it becomes familiar, caring, and ultimately comfortable. Even though there are indistinct appointments of dystopia, the repetition of commonly under-dimensioned or disproportioned household objects, helps the viewer to transpose unnerving feelings to possibly caring personal spaces.
This show at GBE is a great opportunity to discover Uri Aran’s artistic creation and explore the artist’s astute exploitation of what can possibly be a dissonant and disharmonious discourse when one experiences the entanglement of distinct languages. A must-see extraordinary mixed media exhibition, with an exquisite installation, and notwithstanding the above, cleverly commercial.
Note: Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, like many other galleries and art spaces around the world is currently closed to the general public attendance in its both locations, New York City and Rome. During this period, the gallery will make available to its audience on their website several texts, videos, and viewing rooms on Ari Aran’s current show, past and upcoming exhibitions. Additionally to the website, further documentation will be regularly posted on their Instagram and IGTV.