June 2017 Artist in Residence: Assaf Evron

This month we are welcoming Assaf Evron as our artist-in-residence! 

Assaf Evron (b.1977, Israel) is an artist based in Chicago. Evron’s work investigates the nature of vision and the ways in which it reflects socially constructed structures. He has exhibited his work internationally and earned his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Evron has received numerous awards including The Gerard Levy Prize for a young photographer awarded by the Israel museum in Jerusalem (2012), The James Weinstein Fellowship from SAIC (2013), The Israeli Ministry of Culture and Education Prize for Young Artists (2010), and an Honorable mention for the Snyder Prize at MoCP Chicago (2013). He received his undergraduate degree from the department of General History at Tel Aviv University, and completed graduate studies at The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University. Between 2003-2009 Evron was a staff photojournalist at Haaretz Magazines in Tel Aviv.
Among his photographic commissioned works are the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015), Aircraft carrier the Israeli Pavilion at the 12th Venice Biennial for architecture (2012), the renewing of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Museum of Art – Architect Dov Karmi Exhibition. Evron's work has been reviewed and Featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker and BOMB magazine, among others.

Read our Q & A with Assaf to get some insight into his practice.
Looking through your website, you have created a lot of work! What keeps you motivated to keep creating and keep an interest in the projects you work on?

Every work is an opportunity to learn something about the world and about art itself. Being curious about the world I live in, which is a multiplicity; about the way it is constructed and its relation to its intellectual and aesthetic history is a wide field and a strong engine. For example, the series Visual pyramid after alberti is dealing with a 500 year old metaphor of vision and the way it is active in contemporary culture. The work Athens and Oraibi is following the scholar Aby Warburg and his ideas about the affinity of images but also deals with exhibition strategies. Although it seems that I make a lot of work I think it is all revolving around a similar question. Each work or body of work approaches this question from a slightly different angle. The thing about the question is that it can’t have a definite answer which keeps the process of making art an open process of constant inquiry.

There are quite a few different mediums you use in some of your series.  How do you choose which medium will become the dominating factor in a series? How do these different mediums bring a cohesiveness to your work?

The work is conceptually driven so each work follows it own logic as well as the choice of its material manifestation. And at the same time the logic of the material itself is a factor in the making of the work. But I think all the work, regardless the medium, follows a photographic thinking of index, trace, mark - appropriation of a visual possibility - the question of surface and its illusion - and the way light and objects interact. It is also quite exciting to see how thinking from one medium is manifested and another material.

How would you describe your work to someone who is experiencing it for the first time?

My work has defiantly an accumulative quality. But I hope that each body of work offers its own singular experience. I think that the aesthetic language and its seduction is a way to draw people into the work and encourage them to further explore. I hope that my work is an open invitation for audiences to speculate and to be curious about the work and about the world.

You currently travel back and forth between Tel Aviv and Chicago, which is a huge journey! How has traveling influenced your work?

I think traveling between continents is very inspiring. The “cultural jet lag” is way stronger than the actual Jet Lag. The experience of living in two radically different cultures that have radically different approaches to many things puts you in a relativistic position that is not theoretic- it's factual and it is a constant navigation between cultural norms and signifiers. Many times each culture has its own logic which can’t be translated or compared to the other - many times it also comes out as rudeness. Nothing exists in a vacuum and the cultural disposition is crucial. I think that in my work I play a lot with cultural signifiers to problematize that question. A movement between form to content and back. Also it is important to be away in order to gain a reflexive position from each place in order to be able to reflect on it.

What will you be working on during your residency at LATITUDE?

I am excited for the time at Latitude! It is a great opportunity to expand and develop existing bodies of work as well as to develop new work. I plan on working to speculative archeology and the relationship between geological formation to architectural ornamentation to religious myth.

Are there any books, movies, magazines or podcasts that you would recommend people to check out?

I can tell you what books are on my desk right now.
- Aldo Rossi - The Architecture of the City. Which I read in relation to the beautiful show at the Graham Foundation curated by LIGA
- The Artist’s Museum - exhibition catalogue from ICA Boston curated by Dan Byers
- The Surviving Image - recent book by Georges Didi-Huberman about his long live research about Aby Warburg.
- On Edge of Surrealism - A compilation of Roger Caillois writings

I don’t have a chance to watch many movies. The last two were "In Wanda’s Room," which stretches the genre of documentary film to the theatrical realm and "I am Not your Negro," which is not a super good film but a super important document. Since I am not from here it was exciting to get to know James Baldwin and hear him talk about the racial politics in the US from the point of view on an intellectual in exile. It was for me one of those moments that the cultural jet lag finally falls apart. It was fascinating to listen to his language and thinking that is immersed in continental philosophy from his exile in France which is the political language of my other home in Tel-Aviv.

Lastly, where is your favorite place to go in Chicago and in Tel Aviv?

One of my favorite places in Tel Aviv is the Dizingof Center, which is a hybrid maze of public and private spaces. Its design is inspired by the architecture of Oscar Niemeyer.

In Chicago I like driving in the city on 290 and passing under the deserted post office when sunset is reflected in gold on its windows.