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Platt and Borstein Galleries - AJU, Los Angeles, USA



Co-presented with the Israeli Center for Digital Art, the Platt and Borstein Galleries at AJU will become a temporary home for selected parts of Orion’s archive, including drawings and photographs that document past projects, plans, diagrams and correspondence. A VR station positioned in the space will take visitors on a tour of Orion’s sculptural installations in the desert.

At AJU’s Brandeis-Bardin Campus (Simi Valley), artist Dan Levenson presents a site specific project at the House of the Book, a hidden architectural masterstroke that bears intriguing similarities with Orion’s visual perspective.

Ezra Orion (1934-2015) was an Israeli sculptor, poet, and thinker. In his work, he sought to exceed the dimensions of institutions, gallery walls and urban space, and focus on sculpture that would envelop the spectators, contain them, and evoke a spiritual, existential experience. During his art studies, Orion focused on iron and stone sculptures in dimensions suited for gallery spaces. In 1967, after he completed his studies at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art in London, he moved to Sde Boker in the Negev (southern Israel). In the desert, he began creating situations, moments, and environments designed to serve as “launch sites” for human consciousness, to explore the transcendent and the cosmic. This exhibition presents Orion’s principal fields of action: from desert expanses, through movements and changes in the Earth’s surface, to outer space. All these are examined through original works alongside documents from Orion’s archive, which were presented for the first time in the Israeli Center for Digital Art (2016).

Even today, Orion’s activity outside of the gallery—in the desert or in outer space–is impressive in its dimensions, ambition, and form. The scope of his work renders him a unique artist, who did not gain sufficient recognition during his lifetime. The exhibition focuses on Orion’s proposals, sketches, and ideas, in an attempt to investigate and explore the logic of the action, not only its products. Looking back from the present, Orion’s work is also an invitation to examine his contemporaries, as well as the local context which he sought to view from above, potentially render the political dimensions of the artistic action visible. By so doing, Launch Sites L.A. attempts to also consider the limitations involved in imagining and imaging the space in which the action materializes, as well its impact and relationships with the people on whom it acts.

Further investigating the intersections of Orion’s work with international discourse, as well as its potential impact on contemporary practice, L.A.-based artist Dan Levenson presents a site-specific project at AJU’s Brandeis-Bardin campus that explores Orion’s pedagogy and legacy. Read more about the exhibition here. 

SKZ Monochrome Diptychs shares a scene from the workshop of the State Art Academy Zurich (SKZ), a modernist school of the artist’s invention. Drawing on the complicated relationships of modernism with an imagined future, Levenson’s students work in pairs to produce black monochrome diptychs, and leave us to dwell in their deserted classroom–set in the massive rotunda of the House of the Book.

The original version of this exhibition was curated by Udi Edelman and Yael Messer, 2016, as part of the activities of the Institute for Public Presence – The Israeli Center for Digital Art.

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