We are pleased to present Inception, an exhibition that celebrates our shared humanity through an exploration of creation narratives, by New York artist Ghiora Aharoni. Work by Aharoni is currently on view at the Textile Museum in Washington D.C. and was recently showcased at New York’s Rubin Museum and Morgan Library.
The Israeli-born American artist, who is represented in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum; Centre Pompidou; Musei Vaticani; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., presents sculpture, mixed-media installations and photography that delves deeply into cross-cultural dialogue. “The idea that we are all connected, that the fabric of humanity is inherently interwoven, is a theme that runs through much of my work,” says Aharoni.
Assemblage sculptures from The Genesis Series are the focus of Inception. These intricate works incorporate iconography and text referencing scientific, spiritual, mystical and cultural beliefs surrounding creation narratives.
Aharoni began The Genesis Series in 2008, conceiving it as a dialog between science and religion. For many, the story of Genesis, the Bible’s account of Earth’s creation in seven days, marks the beginning of the world and in essence, of time itself. In contrast, theories of evolution, which arose during the nineteenth century, chronicle a history that began billions of years before humanity’s existence.
Rather than focus on the dichotomy of these seemingly opposing views, Aharoni interweaves a multiplicity of belief systems in The Genesis Series. Incorporating antique and vintage religious artifacts, laboratory equipment and elements from the natural world, each illuminated sculpture becomes a self-contained symbolic universe exploring the fluidity of time and how diverse narratives coalesce and intersect. Individual sculptures from the series have been exhibited in museums and cultural institutions internationally, however this is the first time seven works from The Genesis Series—one for each day of creation—will be shown together.
Also on view in Inception are equally intricate works from corresponding series, in which Aharoni expands his explorations into the fluidity of beginnings and the interconnectedness of cultural narratives: Enuma Elish, The Immanent Transcendental and The Moses Cup. Pictured above is a work from The Moses Cup Series, an assemblage of hand-blown glass engraved in 23-karat gold with sacred text in Aramaic and a gilded rhyton (ancient drinking vessel).
The Moses Cup Series references the Israelites’ seemingly unorthodox relationship with the Golden Calf. When Moses bids the Israelites to drink ground gold (the remnants of the calf he destroyed) mixed with water, just how the Israelites drank it is never described. Aharoni’s sculpture responds to that metaphysical void, expressing the transcendent energy evoked by an absent icon, historical monument or house of worship, either disappeared or imagined.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in Rehovot, Israel, in 1969, Ghiora Aharoni grew up in a home full of diverse cultures and languages. His grandfather introduced him to the central texts of Jewish mysticism at an early age, which he incorporates in his work in abstract and literal ways. Aharoni often merges sacred texts of different faiths with traditional objects, such as vintage glass beakers or antique Torah finials. By combining these texts and cultural artifacts and imbuing them with new meaning, Aharoni invites us to expand our perceptions of how cultures, religions and genders are interwoven, and challenges norms and established social constructs.
Aharoni’s work is in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; The Vatican Library; Centre Pompidou in Paris; Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art; and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi. His work has been exhibited at the Rubin Museum, New York, the Jewish Museum Vienna and the Museum of Contemporary Art, London.