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Nir Alon - The State of Things

Solo exhibition, Tinderbox Contemporary Art, Hamburg

11.01.08 - 22.02.08

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The State of Things, 2008, mixed media, variable sizes, installation view (1), Tinderbox Contemporary Art, Hamburg

This large installation shown at tinderbox extends over the entire gallery space and - like most installations by Nir Alon since the 90ies - consists of used, partly discarded, furniture as well as light bulbs.
At first sight this may appear trivial, but furniture carries personal and collective history and they are - as well –
a mirror of society.
Nir Alon negates totally the normal use of furniture and brings it into abeyance. By creating reckless balancing acts - which may seem just impossible to the beholder if he didn’t see it with his own eyes - the artist lets the furniture and the light become his own and our history with severe ease. Always on the verge of the big crash, he points out that everything can always be very different than a second before and that things can, sometimes, change faster as we would believe.

 

Information wise - drawing the maximum out of his installations is one of most important topics of the artist, while all the stories, feelings and drama of their former users are only mentally present.
Through the instability, some transience of life shown quite plainly but the existential declaration which made is no pure nihilism at all; in the end Alon’s installations are load-carrying forms. The threat of misbalancing is also a game, a play which may be quite regarded with humour. According to this one can associates and reflect toward huge spectrum and we can be sure that the artist is conscious about that: From Buster Keaton’s humour to Dadaism and Environment art, from action art of the 1960ies, Assemblage and object art to Fluxus and Arte Povera. Names like Robert Rauschenberg, Marcel Duchamp or Jannis Kounellis and Joseph Beuys come to our mind. Beuys installation „Erdbeben im Palast“ (Earthquake in Palace) from 1981 as an example, shows everyday life objects and furniture that are arranged fragile and hang in the balance. In this example we can define a special situation right after the disaster that changed everything while Nir Alon leaves us completely insecure if something blatant happened or will happen.

Not only our knowledge around the history of art which can be consulted is important, but also the game and the play which the artist plays with our perception - a game with a vague result. Furniture and light bulbs specify a quasi-theatrical play - as Alon revives it after nobody wanted them anymore. For sure there are a lot of stories to tell about the artist himself - e.g. that he was born in 1964 in Jerusalem, Israel, that he was - let alone his forefathers - on the run, and that he has no studio because it would have no use for him. But the beholder doesn’t have to know the private background, even though it has hints in Alon’s works. And so, the stuff of everyday life - that normally stays put - turns to metaphors of travel, escape as well as the time between arrival and departure. But these installations are not there to raise our pity. They shall remind us on (our) weakness, reflecting on (human) weakness that can be seen as a quite interesting situation: losing and loss is also a sign of strength.

"The state of things“ - Nir Alon shows that through rediscovering what people do not want to have around them anymore. And even if it may look like an accident, a joke, an improvisation or non-art it hopefully leaves us with the impression of an elegy. Also due to the deep and dark bloodline that European history has left in everyone and everything, which plays its role here -it is definitely about feelings.
And knowledge.
Balance is also just a kind of tightrope act of emotions, and a lack of emotions hold desolation, which we want to avoid.

 

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