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Current Exhibition

Magnetic Fields

16.5.2024 - 11.7.2024

On the 100th year of Surrealism, The Engel Gallery Jerusalem exhibits prints by Joan Miró and artworks by Arie Berkowitz in an artistic duet that emphasizes the visual connections and the surrealist content between the two.

Magnetic Fields / Anat Michaelis Levy

Joan Miró   |  Arie Berkowitz

When it’s nicely functioning, just on the edge of failure, then for us it’s beautiful. When the things are working but at every moment you’re thinking, ‘Now it will fail!’—when it’s really on the edge of not working, then we say, It’s beautiful: It worked.’

– Peter Fischli[1]

Arie Berkowitz and Joan Miró present a Dadaist surrealist duet consisting of prints, sculptures, and paintings at Engel Gallery, Jerusalem.

In the works of Berkowitz, the eternal child, gravity is manifested in the childlike painting mode, the color applications, and the rapid brush movements. A chance collection of readymades is made into small- or large-scale sculptures, which carry a story. The sound of one-handed clapping becomes a cultural spell.

In the works of renowned Spanish artist, Joan Miró (1893–1983), primary colors (red, blue, yellow) transpire within and amid black lines, stripes, and stains, in which one may identify familiar shapes, such as celestial bodies, ladders, and animals, while a cobweb-like grid is spread over the entire surface. In his abstract surrealist style, he transforms a dab of red paint into blood, and with a child’s innocence rebels against conventions.

Berkowitz, on his part, renders the lines in Miró’s prints three dimensional. He magically assembles mundane materials into works of art that take the form of sculptures imbued with humor. He paints with subtlety and ease, and with a confident hand springs a surprising, serious reference as a counterpoint.

One can imagine Berkowitz the artist, riding his bicycle around Tel Aviv, hunting for objects on the side of the road; stopping at a hardware or art supply store, buying colored tape or a tube of paint, which he will convert into a shape: glue, connect, and create a new work—a world that materializes in the eyes of the beholder.

Displayed alongside Berkowitz’s works, Miró’s prints reflect his familiar unique style: a surprising painting that reaches the subconscious; groundbreaking works that bravely challenged the conservative establishment and presented the abstract as is. Dabs of color, engulfed by black lines, and lines wrapped in stains call logographic script or personal painterly handwriting to mind.

[1] Matthew Collings, Interview with Fischli & Weiss, Artscribe International (Nov.-Dec. 1987), p. 33.

Berkowitz and Miró “correspond” with each other, one in 3D and the other in 2D. All those things that Berkowitz encapsulates, reduces, and hones into a sculpture, into a tension of movement, are presented in Miró’s paintings via lines and colors, which spread on the surface of the paper, coming to a precarious halt.

Both demonstrate restraint in terms of color and form, and at the same time introduce elements of a chaotic world into the realm of modern art. They walk on a fine line, behind which stretches a long trail, rich in knowledge, touching on the worlds of design, children’s drawings, outsider art (art brut), and the abstract.

Miró and Berkowitz are juxtaposed as two parallel lines, which will never meet. Nevertheless, they maintain a dialogue, which gives rise to a fascinating, resonant third dimension.

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