Image of Ghiora Aharoni's studio

Photograph courtesy of Ghiora Aharoni Studio 

Photograph courtesy of Ghiora Aharoni Studio 

Dreaming With: Ghiora Aharoni

In the lead up to the Triennial opening, our Dreaming With Q&A series provides an exclusive glimpse into the artists’ lives and studios.

Where have you been during the lockdown?
In my apartment in the West Village…though I feel as if I have been floating in a space outside of time.

Photograph of Ghiora Aharoni's studio

Photograph courtesy of Ghiora Aharoni Studio 

Is there anything you have found yourself cooking a lot of, and if so, would you be open to sharing the recipe with our readers?
Fish Biryani, from a recipe that I learned years ago by spending an entire day with an amazing chef in Kerala…because, according to her, that’s how long it takes to make it properly, so this has been a perfect time to make it.

What are you reading?
I’ve been reading Sartre’s essay, Reflections on the Jewish Question, a seminal analysis of anti-Semitism, written just after Paris was liberated from the Nazis in 1944, that is also a larger rumination on the dynamic of racism.

What music are you listening to?
Max Richter

Ghiora Aharoni installing sculptures from his series, The Road to Sanchi

Ghiora Aharoni installing sculptures from his series, The Road to Sanchi. Photograph courtesy of Ghiora Aharoni Studio 

Have you seen any particularly good digital exhibitions in the past few months?
I’ve visited the Metropolitan Museum’s Gerhard Richter online exhibition several times, as it is so well done and a comprehensive experience of the exhibition at the Met Breuer. I attended the opening night preview at the Breuer and was absolutely enthralled by the depth and precision of the exhibition, and intended to go back a number of times. Museums in New York closed a few days later, so I was delighted to discover the breadth of the online exhibition from the video tour and images of each work in both detail and installation view, to documentary films by and about Richter, to the curatorial text on the exhibition themes. 

What do you find yourself working on most during quarantine?
I’ve been in the process of developing a large-scale public art installation that expands the narrative of a traditional icon into a rumination of how we regard “The Other.” There are logistic and technical complexities with the scale of the sculpture, so being able to devote myself to that has been unexpectedly welcome.

Materials from inside Ghiora Aharoni's studio

Photograph courtesy of Ghiora Aharoni Studio 

How has your studio practice changed in recent months?
As I’ve had limited access to my studio where I make work, my studio decided to take up full-time residency in my head, so the commute has certainly been shorter. My practice has become more internal…researching, reading, writing, and then sketching new work, all of which I’ve very much enjoyed.

Have you created any art in response to the pandemic?
I was thinking about the virus being spread through our breath and having to cover our mouths, which is also how we communicate. So I created a facemask with sacred text that speaks to the power of what we spread through our words. I would have liked to produce it as an unlimited edition, though I knew that all mask manufacturing was dedicated to meeting the public’s needs, so I created it as a digital work instead and shared it on social media, and also as a limited edition work on paper.

Image of a mask designed by Ghiora Aharoni

Image courtesy of Ghiora Aharoni Studio 

What artists most inspire you?
Artists whose minds are wandering into places that I haven’t yet visited…where there is an object or perspective or narrative that has been turned inside out.

What are you most looking forward to about participating in the upcoming inaugural Asia Society Triennial?
Enjoying the conversations generated from the dialogue between works in the exhibition. 

Ghiora Aharoni working on the Yemenite Headdress Sculpture Series (work-in-progress)

Ghiora Aharoni working on the Yemenite Headdress Sculpture Series. Photograph courtesy of Ghiora Aharoni Studio 

What do you most want viewers to take away from experiencing your work in the Triennial?
There are so many possible relationships and layers of engagement a work of art can create with viewers, which is why, when a work leaves the studio, I think of it as having its own life.

Has your perspective as an artist changed in the midst of the pandemic?
Not really…though breaking the established rhythm of everyday life has certainly reinforced the preciousness of present time.

Photograph of Ghiora Aharoni's studio

Photograph courtesy of Ghiora Aharoni Studio 

Are there any fun facts about your practice you would like to share with readers?
We meditate together in the studio once a day, and while we were all working remotely during the pandemic, we maintained our group practice via Zoom.

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