'‘Two suns, moon and a moon’' – Solo Exhibition, 2010, Rosenfeld Gallery, Tel Aviv


שתי שמשות, ירח וירח, תערוכת יחיד בגלריה רוזנפלד, תל אביב, 2010

Two Suns, Moon and Moon

Shahar Sarig

“Day in and day out, push the roof back into place as soon as they end. To set the heart in motion, and terminate what is left of it in bed on cue.”
(From: Shahar Sarig, Handbag and a Plastic Bag, 2009)

Shahar Sarig’s work is spawned by a near-physical urge or a survivalist necessity. It maintains a sense of essentialness and an emergency urgency. How can a painting be an “emergency” painting and at the same time – an active way of life, a mundane activity? Getting up, eating, painting, sculpting, putting the roof back into place, and going to bed.

Images, texts, and colors mingle, primarily generating figures and background which are inseparable, disintegrating, mutually infiltrating. The figures' setting – a collapsing metropolis, a natural landscape, an empty space – creates intimate relationships, pain, externalization, refinement. The painting functions as a shelter, a witness-protection program, the most guarded prison in the world. But the prison, which is capable of providing protection and separating reality from art, imagination from actuality, is the very gap absent from these paintings.

One of the paintings surrenders a female figure, with a red stain on her hair and face, appearing about to fall. It is hard to look at her. Observation of the paintings reveals a world where the sun rises and the rats and monsters disappear, back into their holes. People, animals, buildings, colors, expressive brush strokes – all these are left out. In another painting one may identify two figures, melting from the inside out. There is something disconcerting in the background, a catatonic noise of sorts, followed by silence, after which a small drawn line bursts forth, buried under layers of paint.

The oil paintings in the exhibition are juxtaposed with sculptures consisting of several painterly surfaces, as well as smaller sculptures that have been magnetized to various objects – simple, inexpensive-looking furniture, for the most part. These are sculptural mutations of portable altars which carry past, present, and future. One may discern influences of Christian painting, German Expressionism, Judaica, and even Outsider art; influences whose physical and symbolic weight seems to paralyze and freeze the sculptures in place.

In addition, the exhibition features several sketchbooks, each containing a different narrative and painterly universe; excerpts of fine, fragile, thin – lined drawing, juxtaposed, once again, with vivid color blots, page after page, like a swimmer who crosses a pool from end to end in a single breath. It is an emotional, charged and jolting breath which takes the viewer to the other side feeling that the world has changed slightly. For a brief moment the viewer is granted a glimpse into the deep recesses of Sarig’s mind, observing the world through his eyes: it is a harsher world, more painful, more beautiful, more stirring, and mainly – different.

Sari Golan Sarig, January 2010