With a practice encompassing moving image, sculptural assemblage, and installation, Israeli-born American artist Ghiora Aharoni explores the traditions and social constructs entrenched within systems of religion, science, and culture.Read More
Central to Ghiora Aharoni's work is the artist's use of traditional and cultural objects, often drawn from religious practices and sacred texts, which he uses to consider shared beliefs across cultures.
After receiving his Master's degree in Architecture from Yale University, Aharoni worked at architectural firms in New York before founding his own art and design studio in 2004. In addition to Aharoni's artworks, Ghiora Aharoni Design Studio has undertaken numerous design projects, including the West Village Penthouse and de Kooning Residence in New York.
In 2004, Aharoni also began 'Rondolinear Sculptures', a series of minimalist wood and plaster sculptures in the shape of thin ribbons that wrap around or fold into spirals and helices. Mounted on the wall or presented on the floor, the 'Rondolinear Sculptures' juxtapose the traditional building materials with rhythmic and fluid forms evocative of calligraphy.
Aharoni is perhaps most known for his intricate sculptural assemblages built using ephemera from different cultures and belief systems. In 'The Genesis Series', ongoing since 2008, Aharoni brings together laboratory equipment, religious artefacts, and natural specimens in reference to the Biblical story of Genesis and the 19th-century inception of the now-widely accepted evolution theory. Phrases drawn from sacred and scientific texts are often inscribed onto the objects, attesting to a human desire to experience and explain the world, whether spiritually or rationally.
An exploration of the common desire across cultures for transcendence recurs throughout Aharoni's works, as seen in 'Make Me A Temple Within (The Ghau Series)' (2019), a group of works based on portable shrines. Taking the shrines, which are commonly carried by Buddhist monks and pilgrims, the artist altered their statues of the Buddha with video montages that feature the activities of monks in sacred sites.
Aharoni's interest in language and text across different cultures has led him to create Hebrabic/ Arabrew©, a script combining Hebrew and Arabic, and Hindru©, which is borne of Hindu and Urdu. The scripts began in 2010, when the artist was inspired by the etymology of the word 'home' and experimented with merging Hebrew and Arabic.
Hebrabic© and Hindru© appear across Aharoni's work. In 'Thank God for Making Me a Woman', begun in 2017, the artist embroidered the title in Hebrabic© and Hindru© onto antique angarkhas, the robes traditionally worn by men in South Asia. The title is drawn from 'Thank God for Not Making Me a Woman', a traditional Jewish prayer recited by men that Aharoni learned in early life.
Ghiora Aharoni's work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions internationally.
Solo exhibitions include Inception, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York (2022); Let Me Hear Your Voice, The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. (2022); Ghiora Aharoni: The Road to Sanchi, Rubin Museum of Art, New York (2017); Missives, Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2013).
The artist has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Asia Society Triennial, New York (2021); Kabbalah: The Art of Jewish Mysticism, Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam (2019); Jerusalem Biennale (2017); Divided Waters, Palazzo Fontana, Venice (2016).
Ghiora Aharoni's website can be found here.
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2022