Ariel Schlesinger is presented at the Massimo Minini Gallery in Brescia until March 30, 2019 with a second solo show entitled We started with a flame, «born from unexpected thoughts and details that change us every day», as the gallery owner explains in the press release.
For the occasion Schlesinger – an Israeli artist born in 1980, who works in Berlin and Mexico City – has realized a triple intervention: an installation consisting in a huge bronze tree, whose branches conceal and guard a burning flame, unable to burn the material that generated it. This tree occupies one of the rooms of the Gallery.
The installation at the Minini Gallery announces another project of the artist, winner of an international competition for the construction of a large work for the entrance of the new Hebrew Museum in Frankfurt in 2017.
Another tree, even more monumental in size (eleven meters high), whose shape has been obtained from the same stem in Italy. The sculpture will consist of two intertwined aluminum structures; one of the two trunks, firmly anchored to the ground, will support the branches of the other tree, which will extend its roots towards the sky. This twisted embrace will be installed in the German city by the end of the current year, representative of the changing dialogue between Jewish history and Frankfurt’s current present.
Similarly, the branches that cross and restructure the space of the Minini Gallery are projected into the past of the Jewish tradition, from which they draw their lifeblood, and in the future: the burning flame cannot destroy the bronze branches that preserve it. The constant presence of gas or flames in Schlensinger’s works is rather aimed at exploring the risk and neutralizing a dangerous situation controlled by the artist’s action.
On show there are also some glass sculptures, generated by the reassembly of several fragments of broken mirrors. The recomposition originates new configurations, offering a reflection on the fragility of the materials and their destiny as a capacity of regeneration and transformation into a work of art. The drastic destruction suffered by the mirrors in their previous life allows them to rise again in a different measure: the fragments release new energy, deprived of their function, through the new formal solutions devised by Schlesinger.
The constructive transparency of glass becomes sculpture, through the masterly and rigorous manipulation made by the artist, generating multiple and changing reflections. «Variations on destruction and abandonment seen with positive eyes, transformed into construction and realization», according to Minini.
Schlesinger’s post-conceptual practice often alters objects of everyday use through minimal or radical gestures: these debris of existence rise to new life, transformed into something that rarely strips them from their shape, but which takes away their obsolete clothes, giving them fascination and mystery. Sometimes the results of this deconstructive /reconstructive strategy seem threatening or dangerous in the context of presentation. Only after a deep reflection they appear more comprehensive and intelligible, revealing surprising and sometimes humorous effects.
Fire also returns in the video shown in the exhibition, closing a triptych with a strong visual and poetic impact. «A triple project that combines the constant research on the transformation of an event from negative into positive, the exploitation of something ordinary as a creative possibility and an unprecedented desire for comparison with the great sculpture, which doesn’t lose sight of the precious value of surprise », writes Minini.
Ariel Schlesinger’s exhibition is inaugurating the 2019 planning of the Gallery, focused on works by young artists, already represented in the past by Minini, who have in the meantime achieved an international fame. In fact, it is following the second solo exhibition of Haris Epaminonda, a Cypriot artist who will take part in the next Venice Biennale.
Ariel Schlesinger. We started with a flame
February 9 – March 30 2019
Galleria Massimo Minini
Via Apollonio, 68 Brescia
Ariel Schlesinger, Untitled, 2019, bronzo, olio per lampade, fiamma, 750x450x415 cm. Installation view da “Ariel Schlesinger | we started with a flame”, Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia. Prima sala. Courtesy l’artista e Galleria Massimo Minini
Ariel Schlesinger, Untitled, 2019, video 16mm, 4’ loop, color, silent, ed. 1/3. Installation view of “Ariel Schlesinger | we started with a flame”, Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia. Terza sala. Courtesy l’artista e Galleria Massimo Minini
Ariel Schlesinger, Nice to meet you, 2019, vetro e specchio, dimensioni vari. Installation view da “Ariel Schlesinger | we started with a flame”, Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia, febbraio – marzo 2019. Seconda sala. Courtesy l’artista e Galleria Massimo Minini
Ariel Schlesinger, At Arm’s Length, 2017 – Alluminio sabbiato, olio per lampade, fuoco, 27×250 cm circa. Courtesy l’artista e Galleria Massimo Minini
For all images: Photo credit: Andrea Gilberti – Alberto Petrò
Independent critic. She collaborated with the Melesi Gallery carrying out research on Jiri Kolar and Giovanni Manfredini and with the COE Association as part of the “Breakfast on the grass n. 2 “, dedicated to Hsiao Chin.