MM1: British-Israeli Collaboration & Exhibitions 2012
Curated by Sharon Toval & Nimrod Vardi
Exhibitions: Arbeit Gallery, London and Alfred Institute, Tel Aviv

Arbeit Gallery & Modern Art Israel present two exhibitions within this collaborative project, which spanned a period of almost a year - De-Construct/Re-Construct/We- Construct, the first exhibition for ‘MM1’, an experimental collaborative art project, involving the pairing of six international artists, diverse in their practice and perspectives on art. Each pair was asked to examine the creation and development of making art by means of new platforms and methods within a mutual capacity.

During a four-month period, the coupled artists explored, shared and exchanged their artistic endeavors via a virtual system of private online studios, allowing them to interact with each other on a personal and artistic level, sharing and creating any material they wished to upload to these platforms.

Several conceptual ideas were followed during this project:
Objectivity/Subjectivity: between creation, contemplation and analysis, the balance between the artists and these ideals. The process started by giving the pairs a starting point on which to react, each one taking their turn, to add, subtract or indeed completely change the path of the work. Neither of the artists had full control on the creative process of the artwork, but all had the ability to shift it to their liking, therefore leaving them standing still in a state of the ‘unknown’, experiencing an ‘in-between’ state.

Whilst allowing themselves to remain in this state, the artists had to let go of prior ideas and be as objective to the work process as possible. They had to come to terms with the fact that the work has its own destiny; having its own past, present and future, and therefore reflecting on whether a mutual work can arise when there is more than one subject or theme, or in fact, none at all within a singular artwork.

In the making process it seems only natural to explore the use of futuristic ideals and methods. Is this, what leads artists to make use of collage in the sketching process? The Russian Futurist sculptor, Naum Gabo, said:“We know only what we do, what we make, what we construct; and all that we make, all that we construct, are realities...there is no reality beyond this reality except when in our creative process we change the images: then we have created new realities”.

From this quote, the following issues arise: If art creates new realities that are detached from the past or the future, why do we feel the desire to learn art from history books? Why do we regard art as history? Can we, neutralize ‘subject’ in the creative process? Did the artists truly integrate and play the ‘objective-subjective’ game? Can we define art as a public object, or define ‘property’ in art?

The second exhibition "Question. Reaction. Examination. Reaction." is the second and last part of the artistic experimental art project MM1. In this exhibition, much like the first held at Arbeit Gallery, the discussion is about the possibility of artistic dialogue and negotiation between the pairs of artists. To what extent is it challenging for artists to reach a joint processing of the artworks until their installation in the exhibition space? Beyond the visual outcome of the artworks, the exhibition proposes to analyse the existing tension between the emotional aspects the artworks raise and their visual-tactical outcome.

A process of combined creation, executed through virtual communication, exhibits different types of dialogue between the pairs, each showing a different perspective; Abraham Kritzman and Cos Ahmet created a joint working space and became one creative entity; Orly Dvir and Daniel Bourke encountered communication difficulties, power struggles and antagonism, and did not progress to a combined thought and process. Their joint creation stayed on the virtual level in the form of a shared blog. Barak Brinker was left to work alone after artist Leonie Lachlan decided to leave the project. His works at Arbeit Gallery, reflected the void left by Lachlan. All of the these collaborations, separately and together, constitute different types of experimental artistic partnerships, and a different perspective of the creative "self" versus "us" as individuals or one composed creative entity.

Question. Reaction. Examination. Reaction. does not attempt to prove collective or artistic axioms; however it's sustaining one last final phase in the artistic discussion that grew with time over the past year. Are the artworks displayed making a new phase in their physical existence? Or will they just bring to mind a statement about the artist’s creative "self" or the combined creating process? Here, we are expecting to see surprising outcomes that might not be considered as the ending points of the project.

The progress of the project was documented on an online virtual studio, where all the artists and curators communicated and exchanged dialogue, imagery, experiments in the run up to the exhibitions in London & Tel Aviv. A link to my participation between artists Cos Ahmet & Abraham Kritzman's exchange can be found on our virtual studio here

Other Links:
De-Construct/Re-Construct/We- Construct a-n Interface Review
De-Construct/Re-Construct/We- Construct The New Wolf Review
Question. Reaction. Examination. Reaction. Exhibition Catalogue