Noga gallery of Contemporary Art is delighted to present Reproductions a solo exhibition by Amikam Toren.
Toren is an innovative conceptual artist whose practice incorporates the destruction of ready-made objects that are then resurrected in his own paintings and sculptures. He continues a practice of appropriating daily detritus and transmuting his finds in a mordant inversion on the parley between consumption and refuse.
Toren’s oeuvre is in a rigorous and witty dialogue with a compelling range of international art movements, such as Arte Povera, Gutai, Minimalism, and Pop In his 'Reproductions Paintings' (2013 - present), Toren re-evaluates the found object by deconstructing a major part of it - which he then pulps – and preserving only a small part of the original image. The artist uses the processed substance as a painting material that he applies on his new stretched surface along with the remains of the initial painting. The title of the work becomes a trace of the original image.
Amikam Toren is a self-professed "maker thinker." In part, this proposes that a given materiality and physical engagement with those materials and their making (and unmaking) take the fore, while thought then operates intimately in dialogue with what was made. The relation between idea and materiality, or indeed content and form, flows through Toren's rich and historically significant practice, in which representation is central concern and irrepressible subject.
Amikam Toren often works in series of reproductions, gathering and crystalizing much of the making and thinking he has explored in some forty years of artistic practice. These are deceptively straightforward works, seemingly easy to describe until one attempts to relate their making to the conceptual frame in which they operate. Take a readymade painting, remove the painting from its stretcher and flatten it, revealing the corners and folds, then cut two or four corners away, or the columns of canvas that demarcate the side edges and or the top and bottom edges of the painting. Stick the cut out fragments on a newly stretched canvas.
The attached fragments will become the frame that will hold the reproductions. Pulp the reminder of the isolated oil painting to remove all pigment, mix this pigment with colorless acrylic to form paint. Return the paint to the new supporting canvas in an equalized and complete re-presentation of the pigments and palettes used in the original painting. The complete work refers back to the original through a descriptive title: a storm, a still life, or landscape, each either remembered or already forgotten. What at first sight announce itself as a monochrome, on closer inspection reveals the diversity of the entire palette first used and is still present – determined by each original painting.
A complex and powerful act is carried out – a flattening of the flat. The inherent flatness of the picture plane, is accentuated and magnified here. All is present in Toren's reproductions, the painting and the act of making a painting are framed and reframed, the old is made new, and the condition of representation – over which all meaningful art lingers – is not only reproduced but stripped bare, even parts X-ray and dissection. These works are also a discourse on, if not indeed a critique of, the family relations of the photograph to both painting and its reproduction. Amikam Toren's reproductions are an archeology of the act, the medium, and practice that explores painting and its object with a rigor unlike any other.
Text by John Slyce