03.14.2017 · Residency
Tel Aviv and Chicago-based artist Assaf Evron was a Spring 2017 resident at The Luminary, participating in the group exhibition Off Modern: In What Time Do We Live? and researching the city's architectural patterning and ornamentation for forthcoming projects.
Residency Period: Throughout Spring 2017
Born in: Israel
Based out of: Chicago, Illinois
MADELINE MARAK: Can you tell me about your background and how you got into art making?
ASSAF EVRON: I started as a photojournalist at Haaretz Magazine in 2003 covering news and editorials in the Tel Aviv region. Concurrently, I was studying general history and philosophy at Tel Aviv University. The combination of being submerged in an intense visual world of the contemporary happening together with theoretical thinking resulted in an art practice that was a dialectical response to both. On one hand my work has a strong relationship to a photographic index, yet it examines this index as an abstraction. Both are grounded in the materiality and the notion of a present in its historical context.
MM: What are you working on right now in relation to the Luminary residency?
AE: The residency at The Luminary was very fruitful. First, it was an opportunity to produce a new work for the Off Modern show. I created a new iteration from the series Athens and Oraibi, which I am very excited about. I was able to print a large-scale desert backdrop for this installation.
I had an opportunity to work towards a new project in April for Providence College Galleries. I was working on designing wallpaper based on photographed cave walls from Jerusalem. I plan to turn the gallery into a speculative space that is between a geometric temple, a mausoleum, and a cave.
MM: You mentioned an interest in the history of modernism and its legacy specific to architecture. Did you find the types of artifacts or experiences you had hoped to find in St. Louis?
AE: It is very exciting when you go and look for one thing and discover another. I came in thinking about modernism probably because of Pruitt-Igoe and the St. Louis Arch, which is so sublime. Being in St Louis this time, however, felt like being in a different time dimension, one that oscillates between the Cahokia Mounds and the 19th century.
MM: How does "place" effect your practice? What aspects of St. Louis were you drawn to specifically?
AE: I definitely work from my immediate experiences. I was very much interested in the proto-post modern aesthetics of 19th century St. Louis. It was thrilling to see the historical understanding and the importance of preservation in the city through institutions like the City Museum and the St. Louis Building Arts Foundation. At the same time, the strong community in the city gives the feeling that everything is possible and you can build anything that you imagine.