Interior, 2007, oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm, private collection, photo: Ran Erde
Amnon David Ar
The painter Amnon David Ar presents a reconstruction of sorts of his crowded living space in the south of Tel Aviv, in which details from his collections are displayed alongside paintings of interiors and nudes. These collections contain vintage Israeli advertising artifacts such as old signs for Coca Cola, Martini and the postal service; 20th-century street signs; retro designer furniture; helmets, busts, copies of Renaissance sculptures, embalmed birds, telescopes and measuring instruments; various flea markets finds, camel skulls and an old birdcage. This model of an artist-collector reflects the manner in which the obsessive process of collecting is integrated into the framework of artmaking. Ar is known for his rich, brightly lit, realist portraits, some of which feature mirror reflections of his crowded studio and living spaces. Reminiscent of the "cabinets of wonder" created by Renaissance aristocrats, Ar's displays contain manmade artifacts (artificialia) alongside natural specimens (naturalia). The painting Interior (2007), for instance, captures a large Coca Cola advertising sign, a microscope, lamps, busts and a birdcage. Ar's studio apartment thus functions as the site of surreal cross-cultural dialogues, and of encounters between elitist, high culture and everyday, once-functional objects. Ar does not differentiate between natural specimens and cultural artifacts, and provides a sampling of the material culture characteristic of early Zionism and the industrial, pre-digital age.
Born in Herzliya, 1973; lives and works in Tel Aviv