Chronicle, the second solo exhibition by Doris Arkin, features six sculptural works installed in the exposed ground floor space of an unfinished office and apartment building in the south of Tel Aviv, near the Carmel market. Arkin, who works predominantly with metals, creates her sculptural works through long-term processes of accumulation, exploration, reassignment and reworking. The scrap metals she collects, emanating from different sources, can be menacing by the bulkiness and jagged texture of their rusted surfaces; in addition she acquires stock quantities of small-sized outdated domestic objects in near-industrial bulk – vintage tin buttons, the inner plates of wrist watches and more. In between these two extremes she weaves threads of poetic and associative meaning, the product of intuited and continuous work processes at the studio that bind together these time-laden material objects, of silent and evocative presence, to traumata both past and present.
The exhibition, which runs for two weeks, is housed in the storefront space of the building, whose large display windows face directly Yaacov Elhanan Street. Yet from within, this unfinished space – currently awaiting refurbishing and residents – exudes the quiet intimacy of an open-ended minimalist sculptural piece, from the exposed surfaces of cast-concrete floors and walls to the grey hue of the temporary wall paint. A number of concrete partitions located inside divide the space into smaller, cell-like units that have allowed Arkin to partially enclose each of the works in a somewhat isolated and autonomous domain. Muted as it may be, this is hardly a neutral environment – all the more to offset the grey-to-reddish rusted color scale that runs through the massive pieces like a connective thread. As the site of a sculptural installation, this unique space foregrounds a post-minimalist gesture that makes present the trace of the past by echoing regard, rememberance and the human body, made ever more present by its absence.
The group of works in the current show was born out of the tension between the significatory potential of abstract forms and found materials on the one hand, and the granting of time to matter to allow it to express itself along unexpected idiosyncratic connotations on the other. The work techniques and their relation to matter encompass such actions as weaving, aggregating, piling and enveloping along with the more menacing aspect of the sheer mass involved. In contrast with Anamnesis, Arkin’s former solo show (The Artists House, Tel Aviv, 2013), where the works invoked a personal world of experience and recollection, Chronicle alludes to feelings of pain and trauma in the context of current events, news stories that infiltrate the studio through the radio, permanently on, permeating the layers of consciousness and subconsciousness, too. The stories of child-brides forced into marriage or the mass abduction of girls in Nigeria find their way into the forms that take shape in the studio and the handling of matter – not by way of a direct illustrative representation but rather through a slow buildup channeled into in gestures of intertwining, connectivity and treatment.
Text by Hemda Rosenbaum.
Doris Arkin | Chronicle | Solo Exhibition
White City, Tel Aviv
Photos by Meidad Suchowolsky