Merhav for Art gallery, Jaffa, 2014
Curator: Sagi Refael
"Etchi Werner Nyiri’s solo exhibition, "New Forest", is made out of two sculptural installations , one hanging from the ceiling and the other is spread on the floor, both made specifically for Merhav Art Gallery’s rooms . The starting point for this exhibition , and to Werner Nyiri’s artistic oeuvre in the past two years, is the charged, sometimes violent , meeting point of the open nature with culture’s dominance. Modernity plows, builds and expands , spreading over dwindling plots and not infected open spaces, which wraps them the visitor in a breathing, out of time environment . Whether urban areas or remote tourist sites , human presence in nature highlights the tension between the natural limitless forces, and the attempts to restrain it by mankind . Natural disasters that befalls the globe by surprise , serve as temporary menacing reminders of the human dependence on it’s environment , while leaving an echo of primordial chaos.
It seems that these overlapping sites , which are so common and obvious yet complex , nourished this current body of work by Werner Nyiri.
New Forest is the title of a series of works , from which these two site-specific installations had emerged . The first work in the series is presented in the corridor, a group of concrete birds rest on litter od industrialized plastic and glass bottles . These drinking vessels and cleaning detergent containers, which stored vital fluids , now function as nests for birds that had been castrated and domesticated forever.
Another work from the series expanded to the floor installation "celebration of death", displayed in the main gallery space . The installation was created out of the sculpture at the entrance, that is made from a tree stump with branches screwed into plastic tubes , as prosthetic arms.
Trunks and branches of trees of different species , which were collected in the cities and in the desert, were glued together with toxic polyurethane foam via plumbing connectors , and they are spreading and branching out as a hybrid or as a network of motorways, as imprisoned arterial veins. Integrating the concrete Birds into this scene of artificial nature , creates a tension between vitality and the static potential of aviation, remaining bound on the land . Branches of vines ,Eucalyptus and Ficus are hybridized, streaming as rivers and drawing a walking track in the urban jungle, while its branches are getting reduced and cleared . An individual sculpture erects at the end of the route, looking as a disjointed torso with one winged arm, which may echo the Statue of the Nike of Samothrace, the goddess of victory in Greek mythology, hinting for the overcoming of natural freedom over the enforcing power.
The second installation, " Celebration of Life", which was inspired by the mythical hanging gardens of Babylon, carries fruit bulbs floral blooms , brimming with color and juice , in various stages of flowering and withering . The voluptuous flesh of these bodies , inviting the
viewers to surround it , is contrary to the monotonous grayness of the floor installation . While " Celebration of Death " shows the the violent encounter between the primordial and the modern , " Celebration of Life" may offer an alternative adaptive corresponds with ecological solutions in the form of balconies bloom atop skyscrapers and trees sprouting from the tops of buildings. It introduces an alternative cyclical lives , maybe short but satisfying, continually maximizing time for beautifying and lurring."