Whitehot Magazine

October 2010, Ariel Reichman @ PSM Gallery

Ariel Reichman, Kicking Wall, 2010
Brick wall, paint, video performance. dimension variable, edition 1 + AP
Courtesty of the artist and PSM Gallery

Ariel Reichman: And it is in the space between here and there
PSM Gallery
Strassburger Strasse 6-8
0405 Berlin
17 September through 30 October, 2010

The horizontal line predominates in Ariel Reichman’s latest Berlin exhibition, “and it is in the space between here and there.” Of course, the horizontal can possess a number of meanings when deployed in the visual realm. Classically, it is used to denote the horizon – that spectral, prospective “over there” that can hint at a world much better than the one depicted in the foreground, or hint at some foreboding threat that lingers just off-stage, perhaps ironically unbeknownst to the figures in the scene. As the opposite of the living vertical, it also implies sleep, loss of consciousness, death – a presence devoid of soul. A barrier or border demarcating a forbidden land – or the mere assertion of its authority over us, the viewing subjects.

The eighteen c-prints forming a white line against a black backdrop in Electrical Line, a-r, 2010, might appear a re-hash of classical minimalist shtick until you realize you’re staring at an actual photograph of an electric fence, its illumination stinging the overwhelming darkness of the surrounding night. There are many layers of meaning that are deliberately hidden here, as with all of the works in the exhibition – always a story hidden in the background, waiting to be told. The work partially explains itself in the next piece to catch your eye, which again, resembles a piece of classical minimalism: a white wall, about the height of an average human being, with a red horizontal line painted across the upper half. As a former soldier in the Israeli army, Reichman experienced the Israeli-Palestinian conflict first-hand, and these works put forth a discourse on horizontality that is, in fact, quite loaded – despite the seemingly reductive guise. The piece, Kicking Wall, 2010, resolves itself further on in the exhibition in the form of a video documentation of the artist jumping over the barricade, which is actually a verbatim reproduction of the same wall that all Israeli soldiers are expected to be able to jump over during training, with the red line marking the minimal height one must be able to step in order to make the jump.

A further element of corporeal endurance is woven into the exhibition in the forms of And We Shall All Disappear, One Day, 2010, a photographic diptych depicting an unmade bed; the self-described Trying to draw the David Star with my left hand, 2010; Secret Performance (I Have to Be Strong), 2010, in which the artist attempts to operate a hand-powered flashlight in the darkness for the entire 108 meter length of a 16 millimeter film, the results of which are projected in a sort of tunnel in the gallery – constructed out of horizontal lines.

In many ways, Reichman’s latest exhibition – and it should be noted here that the overall exhibition is more important to him than the individual works comprising it – is about trying to apply forms of systematic order to aspects of reality so scattered and potentially lethal that to devote yourself to thinking about them is to live an inner life of perpetual trauma. Rather than the scars on one artist’s consciousness, what we see is a poetic method of coping with the many burdens reality throws in his path.

Ariel Reichman, And We Shall All Disappear, One Day, 2010
pigment print on paper, 140 x 120 cm each (dyptich), edition 3 + AP
Courtesty of the artist and PSM Gallery

Ariel Reichman, Oranges, 2010
pigment print on paper, 42 x 34 cm each (dyptich), edition 3 + AP

Courtesty of the artist and PSM Gallery

Ariel Reichman, 525 pieces of dirt, 2010
pencil on paper, 162 x 228 cm, 63.78 x 89.76 in

Courtesty of the artist and PSM Gallery

Ariel Reichman, Trying to draw the David Star with my left hand, 2010
pencil on paper, glass, tape, 14 x 9 cm, 5.51 x 3.54 in

Courtesty of the artist and PSM Gallery

Travis Jeppesen

Travis Jeppesen's novels include The Suiciders, Wolf at the Door, and Victims. He is the recipient of a 2013 Arts Writers grant from Creative Capital/the Warhol Foundation. In 2014, his object-oriented writing was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and in a solo exhibition at Wilkinson Gallery in London. A collection of novellas, All Fall, is forthcoming from Publication Studio. 

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