Zac Hacmon’s interactive border-crossing work titled Gateway is currently on view at Smack Mellon as part of a group show featuring artists who reveal a capacity for empathy, a willingness to reflect on another's perspective or to understand those whose backgrounds differ from their own.
Gateway explores socio political conflicts through architecture. Hacmon has reconstructed a section of an Israeli border checkpoint, constructed with welded steel tubes in order to convey the physicality and “weight” of traversing a border. The imprisoned space within the structure that previously held no significance, now becomes a place of contention. As viewers’ experience the piece, move in and around the immersive structure and transgress its boundaries, the architecture shifts between ‘forum’ and ‘prison,’ a space for watching or being watched.
With a firm interest in border architecture and the ever-tightening security system’s of our contemporary society, Hacmon taps into timely but also historic issues of movement and the architecture and controls used to police it. Considering the act of displacement and relocation – rebuilding a section of an Israeli checkpoint – Hacmon calls attention to man-made perimeters, social emergencies, and the inhumanity of these crossings. The physical crossing within the gallery space encourages the viewer to ask that we work to dismantle borders and consider new strategies of coexistence, empathy, and collaboration.
Gateway is modelled on the Kalandia checkpoint located near Jerusalem, where the everyday experience of state-controlled security measures is most critically felt by Palestinians who wait for hours inside a fenced barricade to cross into Israel each day for work. The Kalandia checkpoint is not located on a border, but between the Palestinian town of Ramallah, the Kalandia refugee camp, and the Palestinian town of ar-Ram. It separates the residents of Ramallah from southern Palestinian towns and the northern Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem. It is used by the Israeli military to control Palestinian access to Israel. Hacmon uses architecture as a mediator and is interested in notions of the non-place: spaces without history or identity. His work operates with the efficiency of a device rather than as a passive object.
Zac Hacmon (born 1981 Holon, Israel) is an artist based in New York. He is a recipient of the Rita Glasser Fellowship Award, the UJA-Federation of New York’s Rose Biller Endowment Fund Award, Unesco Aschberg Scholarship, and fellowship from Hunter College. Recent exhibits include SPRING/BREAK Art Show (New York, NY), Petach Tikva Museum of Art (Israel), Meet Factory Gallery (Prague, Czech Republic), Artsonje Center (Seoul, South Korea). He has had residencies at the Salem Art Works (Salem, NY), MeetFactory Studio (Czech Republic), MMCA National Art Studio in Seoul (South Korea). Zac received an MFA from Hunter College and a BFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design (Israel).