Israeli-born artist, architect and designer Ghiora Aharoni’s approach brings a blend of artistry and technology to his remarkable work, which often combines natural and industrial materials. His ability to mix a variety of materials into coherent and poignant work is apparent in Missives, artwork he created and exhibited recently at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, India. Missives was inspired by the discovery of a trove of love letters written by his mother, who passed away 20 years ago. Four years ago, a childhood friend of Aharoni’s found an old shoebox containing the letters and brought it to him without saying what was inside. It was only after he finished reading the first letter and saw the name signed at the end that he realized they had been written by his own mother in the 1950s, to a boy in Jerusalem. Many of the installations in the exhibit featured over-scaled excerpts of the letters printed on crumpled Japanese paper with a collage of vintage photographs collected by the artist during his travels to India. “This installation is an investigation into the essence of memory and sentimentality,” explains Aharoni. The artist didn’t want the letters, written in Hebrew, to be fully legible so he had them reprinted on Japanese paper and crumpled them, preserving only random phrases and their emotion. “The paper with incomplete text becomes a metaphor for concealed feelings,” he explains. In printing them on fragile Japanese papers, they are also transformed into precious objects, amplifying the emotion within the work. Aharoni, in placing the reprints over vintage photographs suggests the nature of collective memory. Some of the letters, or portions thereof, are also embroidered onto phulkaris, ceremonial Indian shawls. He feels the phulkaris have a particular significance. “On one hand, they embody the aspirations of a young girl;
the Indian woman for whom the phulkari would have been part of her wedding dowry, and on the other, they also represent my mother’s desire for the object of her affection.” Whatever his medium, the works that comprise the Missives exhibition develop a narrative that speaks to history, symbolism, imagination, and longing. The artist also believes that the works symbolize his love for India. “When I first landed in Delhi I felt at home in a place I’d never been to. I’ve travelled through the country in the last 10 years, clicking images and collecting vintage photographs which comprise an extensive collection of memories.” His mixing of materials suggest not only the artist’s strong imagination but prompts viewers to expand their own, to be open to the extraordinary romanticism woven into the exhibit. His mother wrote the letters a long time ago so does he notice a change in the notion of love when he reads them today? “Desire is timeless,” he says. For our part in Missives, Duggal Visual Solutions printed the enlarged snippets of Aharoni’s mother’s writings on paper provided by the artist. We’re very proud to have contributed to this important collection conceived by our esteemed client, Mr. Aharoni. The artist himself, in the beautiful hardcover catalogue that accompanied the exhibit says, “A special thanks is dedicated to Duggal Visual Solutions in New York... whose technical expertise and support were essential to the exhibition.” Missives is but one project in the artist’s impressive portfolio of work. We urge you to explore additional examples of Mr. Aharoni’s extraordinary talent and skill.
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