WONDERLAND: CONSTRUCTION - Elinor Sahm
Curated by Anna Ratcliffe
Wonderland: Construction invites you to peer through the looking glass of DISKURS Berlin, where the white cube has been turned into a black box. The window has been split in two, on one side a ghostly tower looms in the foreground with the vision tricking our eyes as it shifts in space. On the other, the viewer sees a mirror image of the tower, this time the spiralling summit reaching for heaven is not created of man-made concrete but is ethereal and white.
Elinor Sahm has created a theatrical space where nothing is as it seems and the scene is created from light and reflections seen through mirrors and glass. Sahm has an incredible way of making her work emerge as if it has been around for an eternity: objects appear to be from lost cities and environments look as though they are created from amethysts. This all adds an element of wonder which plays a large part in her work, however the enchanting settings deal with the darker side of human nature.
This installation is no different. The tower echoes that of Babylon, built from a utopian vision, it speaks of how humans and civilizations are ruined by vanity and how miscommunication can lead to decay. Also, how blinkered ambition and hubris can ultimately cause unbearable misunderstanding of a fellow human.
Just as Utopias are aspirational but inherently unattainable, Wonderland: Construction is a contradiction. A wonderland is a finished ideal rather than a work in progress and utopias often turn out to be dystopias when the destination is reached. There is always a disconnect between the idea and reality.
Written by Anna Ratcliffe
Elinor Sahm, born in 1986 in Jerusalem, is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tel-Aviv and Berlin. She studied at UDK, Berlin, and Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem. Currently, she is taking part in the Bezalel MFA. In her work, she uses various materials and focuses on site-specific large-scale installations that define its medium by its concept, with constant use of light as a key material. Sahm has exhibited in various galleries and art fairs in Israel, Russia, Brazil and Germany and is a member of P8 gallery in Tel-Aviv. She is a grantee of the Rabinovich Foundation of arts (2020,2019) and the Lottery Council for arts and culture, Israel. In 2020 Sahm participated in the GlogauAIR residency program in Berlin and exhibited a performance installation during the ‘Open Studios’ event last September.
Anna Ratcliffe is a Berlin-based curator and arts writer and is currently assistant curator at DISKURS Berlin. She also runs tours and events with Art Tours Berlin, highlighting emerging artists and the diversity of the city’s art scene. She received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in the History of Art from the University of Leeds, UK. In England, she worked for many years at the Henry Moore Institute, a centre for contemporary sculpture, and Basement Arts Project, an artist-run project space. As a writer, she has contributed catalogue essays, conducted interviews with artists and curators, and reviewed exhibitions in grass-roots spaces and major institutes.
IT MAY SOUND UTOPIAN
10 Shows, 10 Artists, 4 Guest Curators
curated by Jung Me Chai & Anna Ratcliffe
Think about the alarming crises in the world. The spreading pandemic, racism and discrimination, growing far-right propaganda, international terrorism, and climate change are to name a few of the perceived threats to our existence. Some people are paralyzed by uncertainty in this unpredictable time, and yes, we are also confronted with severe socio-economic problems. In addition, this unexpected crisis has, unfortunately, accelerated the rate of restrictions on civil liberties, and mass surveillance methods have uninterruptedly risen.
Even if it may sound utopian, we are forced to think about new models of “how we live” in these perilous times. The image of “Utopia” maybe a romantic and unrealistic concept, but it is an urgent one as we try to revise our current problems.
Under the title ‘IT MAY SOUND UTOPIAN’, DISKURS Berlin launches the second round of Exhibition-Relay, encouraging creative thinkers to create personal utopias in this unpredictable and vulnerable world.