A central theme in Avior’s art is the collision of religion and fetishism. Thus, a chopping board inscribed with “Jesus” bound with a robust riveted strap becomes a grotesque crucifixion scene. Inverted as such, the word loses its original meaning and as a sign devoid of sense gives the exhibition its title.
The motif of hanging resurfaces in many of the works on show, conveying the idea of the vertical self transcendence of the profane into the holy and back again. Catholicism and BDSM are explored as abstract bodily practices, united by a desire for self dissolution – either through asceticism or excess – as well as a longing for archaic authority structures and indisputable rules of conduct.
The monsters and myths of popular culture – the crimes of serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer who was raised strictly Catholic, the horror film Alien – offer further ways into Avior’s objects whose intrinsic ambiguity is seen most clearly in a sculpture consisting of a plastic canister adorned with the logo of the US brand Crisco. This frying fat is stocked in supermarkets, yet is also sold as a lubricant in sex shops. Furthermore, Dahmer favoured this brand when preparing his victims.
Similarly, the wooden chopping boards covered in cuts marks that reappear throughout the exhibition are also taken out of their familiar context of home cooking. Tightly strapped and hanging forlornly they become eerie symbols of perversion, brutality and violation.
Other works investigate the various excretory functions of human beings – bodily fluids, digestion and secretions amongst others. Beyond the realm of the visible the hidden appears as a mark, an imprint or an olfactory impulse. Even Avior’s Romeos, the result of failed digital downloads, do not reveal their meaning at first glance. They remain frozen in the limbo of desire forever after.
Yinon Avior was born in Tel Aviv in 1991. After graduating from the Thelma Yellin School of Arts in Tel Aviv, he continued his studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under the tutelage of Marcel Odenbach and subsequently at the Hamidrasha Faculty of Art in Israel. Selected group shows include the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2016), L’Atelier d’Alexandrie, Alexandria (2015) and the Israel Museum of Art, Jerusalem (2013). In 2015 Avior was awarded the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Stipend for outstanding achievements in the arts. Avior lives and works between Copenhagen and Tel Aviv. snsaf is the first solo exhibition of the artist in Berlin.
Text by Diana Weis / 2016