Amikam Toren: Reproductions
1 November - 21 December
Preview 31 October, 6 - 8 pm
At the core of Toren’s work lies his interest in the possibility (or impossibility) of representation. Since the late 1970s he has worked and reworked the notion of representational/tautological paintings which propose a unity between form and content. As Toren says:
‘Philosophically speaking, tautology is an idea, but an impossibility in the real world (a rose is a rose, is a rose, is a rose – Gertrude Stein). Attempting to bring tautology through art into the world of objects/paintings has been part of my job. The resulting work closes the gap to some degree.’
Toren’s Armchair Paintings are well-known, a continuing series consisting of found paintings out of which the artist has cut found phrases and truisms, paradoxically realizing a ‘good’ painting from the destruction of a ‘bad’ painting. Something of value from something valueless. Echoing his earlier series Of The Times where the complete copy of the Times newspaper for one day is pulped up and used as pigment to paint a representation of a letter of the alphabet, Toren’s Reproductions are a new and startling manifestation of this rescue and revaluation of the found object. The major part of a junk painting is pulped up and turned into pigment with which Toren repaints it alongside the remaining traces of its original image. The work is both re-produced and reproduced. The resulting surfaces, colours and forms are quite extraordinary and demonstrate an aesthetic quality quite beyond the bathetic ambitions of their progenitors. The title of each piece is as it was, then descriptive, now evocative. A new imaginary possibility is liberated from the material of the mundane. This exhibition presents a small selection of these remarkable new works.
Always highly respected by critics and his peers, Toren has recently seen a significant expansion of interest from international institutions and collectors. Tate acquired a group of works last year and recently works have entered major collections in Istanbul, Madrid, New York, Dallas and London. Later this month, an important exhibition of Toren’s work will form the inaugural exhibition at the new Jessica Silverman Gallery in San Francisco.