Middle East & Africa

Uri Aran
Game II

Like much of Aran’s work this sculptural installation is akin to a riddle. It has no exact meaning, and it can be somewhat frustrating, yet with careful inspection it begins to reveal unexpected information. In his 2014 exhibition at Peep-Hole, Milan, where this work was shown, Aran referred in a series of new works to Mancala games. These ancient pastimes (popular throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia) typically employ a perforated board and pieces formed out of seeds or stones. In an analogy to agricultural activity, Mancala games are at once elementary and poetically allusive; in their combination of improvised apparatus, rudimentary rules and metaphorical potency, they furnish an oblique metaphor for Aran’s art, in particular his ranging, open-ended and atemporal mode of sculpture. The still-life assemblage Game II elaborates upon the idea of ‘art as game’, embodying the same basic interplay of organization and chance, recalling childhood games and activities. While the work invokes Giacometti’s No More Play it also suggests the active processes of making works of art, conscious, unconscious and trial and error.

Born in 1977 in Jerusalem
Lives and works in New York.

Uri Aran, born in Israel and based in New York, is young artist working in sculpture, installation, video and drawing. Much of Aran’s work is about grouping things together, assembling the detritus of the studio, images and objects that relate to his own life, in an attempt to make sense out of random things. He has stated: “In my own work the excitement and simultaneous pathos associated with the limitations of taxonomy are always present. I don’t establish logical equivalencies (…) instead I take parts of lists, classifications and narrative habits and I pluck, recapitulate and re-assign. My work has nothing to do with nonsense – in fact quite the opposite. I activate the highly sensitive reflex responses that a viewer might have to a trigger such as a piece of music, food, or a photo and I adjust the allegiances of that reflex. In this manner objects, language, intonation, everything develops an eccentricity that can be unnerving, perplexing, funny, poetic, and tragic ad infinitum.”