Arik Miranda

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Between Two Islands

Gallery 4, Tel Aviv

2019

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inkjet print

70X52.5 cm

inkjet print

70X52.5 cm

inkjet print

70X52.5 cm

inkjet print

70X52.5 cm

inkjet print

70X52.5 cm

inkjet print

70X52.5 cm

inkjet print

70X52.5 cm

inkjet print

70X52.5 cm

Installation View

Photo by Adi Tarkay

Photographer: Daniel Sheriff

Photographer: Daniel Sheriff

Photographer: Daniel Sheriff

Photographer: Daniel Sheriff

Photographer: Daniel Sheriff

Photographer: Daniel Sheriff

Photographer: Daniel Sheriff

Photographer: Daniel Sheriff

Photographer: Daniel Sheriff

Slave to Love

Yoav Shmueli

Miranda’s photographic act is an act of love. It’s almost hypnotizing. Eros is there, but not at the center. The time spent courting and photographing the model, and then imprinted on paper forever, is love. The rest, trifles.
Yoav Shmueli on Arik Miranda’s exhibition at Gallery 4, Florentine, Tel Aviv

Arik Miranda’s art draws you in, intrigues and captures. The thoughts, mainly pleasurable, it induces offer an intoxicating, even bothering, cocktail that takes time to digest. First, it’s an installation, a place with its items: a regal white curtain, manicured pot plants. Then, it’s the gentle fluttering of drawing on the wall, and an arrow straight to the heart – black and white photographs and nudity. Here and now, and timelessness; a gaze at infinity veiled in thin surrealism. The special experience, the multilayered whole, and eventually, the spellbinding nudity. The bride has undressed, but the artist too has given his soul.

When I try to imagine Miranda’s ideal viewer of this enigmatic exhibition mounted in the entrance floor of the guesthouse in Florentine, I think of one Brian Perry. Apart from the immortal video clip to the song Slave to Love, featuring tall women whose heads touch the sky, it’s the entirety of the visual output of the man who was almost a plastic artist. From the early 1970s Perry made sure to have the most beautiful and interesting women – from Jerry Hall to Kate Moss – on Roxy Music’s and his solo record’s covers; sticking his golden finger right in the eye of political correctness. I’m hanging onto Perry because his women, like that of Miranda, project something distant, mysterious, approachable/unapproachable. Erotica served cold.

Miranda’s appearances in Israeli art are as transient as that of a beautiful butterfly. He shows up, rests for a moment or two, leaves an image and disappears once again. Like the butterfly, it’s hard to hold on to him for long. Yet Between Two Islands, his most personal work to date is somewhat different. Miranda lands at dusk. Leaves some powder. The young man has matured. All the offerings are already here: the drawings from time immemorial, between geometric abstract and traditional Japanese painting; the set that isn’t a set at all, but simply a combination of some real and clear objects – these are the minimalist pot plants Miranda cultivates on his balcony, and the white screen\curtain is a fine product made in the family workshop (in a previous exhibition he brought his bed replete with white bedding); and the photographs: his apartment and one wonderful woman. What more can a person ask for?
Indeed everything fits together wonderfully, and you feel at home at Miranda’s without ever having visited. The main draw, however, are the photographs, in which the house appears in decadent Zenlike minimalism that manages to evoke both a luxurious, generic hotel room and a pleasant space with personal history and style. The face of the room, the face of the man: the curtains are elegant and crisp, as is the bedding, obviously. Another space has a pretty mirror and other pot plants, different from those in the gallery. These, of course, are only background for the gentle and intimate dance of a woman in full bloom. She and Miranda know that when the bride has undressed something entirely different occurs.

Miranda’s photographic act is an act of love. It’s almost hypnotizing. Eros is there, but not at the center. Tamar, the beautiful model, free, sexy, sexual. Eros is natural, gentle, exciting, in his place. The doubling of her figure, created with a piece of chandelier glass, is part of photography’s natural sequence, looking squarely at Man Ray. The time spent courting and photographing the model, and then imprinted on paper forever, is love. The rest, trifles.
Miranda’s movement is in the space between the necessity of façade and feeling, between fire and ice. Were it possible, Miranda would want each of his tears to harden and fossilize, become ice or glass. The female nudity opens the heart, frees inhibitions and assumes another place, the enchanting place of beauty and love. All the said above does not at all contradict the understanding that the portrait of Tamar is also a self-portrait of the artist. It always merges.
It’s interesting to about Miranda’s artistic sources: painting, photography, installation. Something of the immortal space and time of Edward Hopper, Man Ray, as mentioned, and even the timeless youth of Bruce Webber. His curtain\screen is not from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks or from Félix González-Torres, but they linger in the awareness. Miranda touches each of them gently and takes off to his own direction.  

Arik Miranda / Between Two Islands
Curator: Orit Mor
Gallery 4, Florentine 6, Tel Aviv

Between Two Islands

Orit Mor

Arik Miranda’s solo exhibition is the third in Gallery 4’s Drawing Season.

Pale photographs of nude young women hand on the gallery walls. Fine gold lines drawn directly on the walls reach beyond the borders of the photographic paper. A white curtain from the family curtain shop on King George street in Tel Aviv, a recurring motif in Miranda’s work, appears both in the background of several of the works and as a physical object that hangs from the ceiling in the center of the space and conceals parts of it. 

The exhibition title, Between Two Islands, seems to derive from romantic films. It contributes to the installation’s cinematic feel in its evocation of a studio in which the main protagonist – the photographer – works. While inviting and intimate, the space is only one in which the artist is alone with his subject, and where the photographs are worked on and contemplated. 

In recent years Miranda has worked extensively with photography, capturing images of women he encounters in life and online. This work process involves a certain ritual of seduction and courting that serves to conserve his longing gaze at these Lolitaesque muses. Indeed the site of the photographic act doesn’t look like an artist studio but more like a domestic environment in which the subjects are wedged into a corner of sorts, a narrow area blocked by curtains or a mirror, and yet strong daylight enters.

The photographs are created through prisms of light, like the kind of polished glass used in light fixtures, creating an effect of multiplication and blur. The photographs resonate surreal photography of nude women by artists such as Man Ray or André Kertész. They might be imagining states in which the gaze blurs or sight crushes from the power of that seen, suggesting a fetishistic obsession with the image that continues when the works become installation objects.

Like in Miranda’s 2016 solo exhibition, Love the Feeling of Being Slightly Lost, at Lobby – Place for Art, the artist activates the beauty trap on his viewers and invites them to participate fully in the experience. The artificial environment, which Miranda moved from the studio or the house to the gallery, restores the longing and striving for delectation brought by “breathtaking beauty.” This becomes the center around which viewers are given optimal conditions to identify with the artist’s gaze, leaving ethical questions behind the curtain. As Laura Mulvey argued, “…The determining male gaze projects its phantasy on to the female form which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness,” Miranda might be making a brave move in a period in which gender power relations are being reexamined.

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