by Barak Bar-Am
(conceived as a site-specific installation for Gallery Dorothea Deimann,
The installation "Hebeschiebewerk" consists of several elements:
'CPU ATRIUM' basic shape is that of a large simple box with P.V.C surfaces
on all 4 sides.
The top has been removed to allow us to view its inner structure. The
work invites the spectator to look from above on a group of images and
structures located in its core. This top-view, a perspective which recurs
elsewhere in Bar-Am's work, suggests an architectural frame of reference
and might explain the arrangement of different elements and their inner
relationships and hierarchies. The schiffshebewerk video loop in the center
is surrounded by a structure of planes. This structure resembles a cooling
apparatus and is accompanied by three electric ventilators, all inside
an 'ATRIUM BOX'.
Mediating between the work's core and its boundary is a structure that
resembles the inside view of enlarged processor.
Bar-Am suggests that this element aspires to operate like the scheme of
a reactor. Several layers of interpretation come in mind in front (or
rather above) this scheme - a cybernetic versus mechanical paradigm, or
that of physiological apparatus of memory versus inner space.
MODEL' is based on the 'Poliashuk' building, an International Style office
building, built by two architects, Laiskowsky and Ornstein, in 1934 in
the old center of Tel Aviv. The building is characterized by a 'Mendelsohn
facade' resembling a face of a ship, which is typical to Tel Aviv's architecture
of the period.
In this work Bar-Am realizes the "Nautical" potential embodied
in the 'Mendelsohn facade'.
Here, in the showspace, this building becomes a matchbox car, a P.V.C
1:17 scale-model train, running in circles on the gallery floor.
The logic behind this architectural toy is that of displacement through
transformation, which in turn suggests a possible destiny of an architectural
phrase from another time and space.
'ALEXANDERPLATZ LOOP', taken by Bar-Am and projected on the near wall,
shows another axis of transformation - that of the International Style
- which originated in Germany, was imported to Israel and practiced in
a pure and naive form by Tel Aviv architects, and can likewise be seen
in its Bolshevik high modernist variants, in Alexanderplaz in East Berlin.
The Tel Aviv / Berlin axis, linking naive forms and authoritarian spaces
is not judgemental, it marks again a potential of transformation of ideas
PIECE' has been created for this installation, although it makes specific
reference to its real-world display context in Dorothea Deimann - Räume
für Kunst in Basel. It is a free standing wood and P.V.C wall construction,
with graphic elements in red, grey, black and white.
This big abstract surface borrows its color scheme and formal vocabulary
from a huge Esso oil-tanker which is visible through the gallery's window.
The work operates at the level of displacement, transforming the surface
of this capitalist icon into other surface: such as an indoor mural or
an abstract painting. As a part of the Hebeschiebewerk installation, this
piece appears as an anchor to an everyday, 'real' phenomenon, as a reference
to the nearby environment of an industrial river-bank Harbor.
[Text by Ohad Meromi, from the catalogue]
Other works by Barak Bar-Am:
- an exercise in public aestetics