Uri Aran: zero point everything

8 May-15 Jun 2024
PV 8 May 2024, 6-8pm

Sadie Coles HQ, Bury Street
London SW1Y 6AB


In zero point everything by Uri Aran at Sadie Coles HQ, a wide array of media and subjects coalesce, presenting a dynamic field of encounter. Drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, moving image and photography collide and retreat from one another, establishing an orbit of recuring motifs. It could be argued, however, that the central medium of Aran’s practice is the exhibition itself, and its affective field as analogous to the page. The decisions Aran makes are akin to the rhythm, grammar, prosody and intonation of poetry. Physical points in space, like the structural arrangement of words on a page. Poetry is language’s excess. It is language that cannot be only reduced to information, it has the capacity to destabilise deeply entrenched ideas and forms, around which dominant positions, and values can otherwise take hold.

For Aran, the kind of knowledge that might be produced by art, so frequently cited as its core tenet of value, is not only found in the singular object or artwork itself, but also in the way their relation to one another can produce the discursive, emotional and social dynamics that enable a subjective response. Each component may be imbibed with an existing set of values and assumptions rooted in their function or historic/cultural context – a ‘La-Z-Boy’ armchair, tins of fish food, patterned porcelain, lace bows, floral print furnishings – but these values, whatever they infer, can be upturned and recoded through subtle manipulations in form and arrangement. Aran folds audiences into the field of relations, inscribing them into their own processes of knowledge production; their proximity, and relation to the works become just as erroneous, charged, infinite, contradictory, transitional and compassionate as the artists. This willful complexifying of the exhibition’s terms, is not designed to alienate the viewer with a sense of critical distance. There is sincerity and vulnerability in this gesture that evokes and activates shared and individual elementary feelings rather than a revelation of any specific truism.

Aran’s practice shares an affinity to the construction and delivery of language and leans into a poetic sensibility. As Roland Barthes claims in Writing Degree Zero (1953), all texts demand the reader and writer have equal stakes in their exchange, posing that how a text is written is as important to the kind of knowledge produced, and what the text says. A text that attempts neutrality, or a ‘zero degree’ of style, is still a product of its form. As with writing, in Aran’s exhibition no ‘zero degree’ exists in the coalescence of media. All relations are weighted, and it is in their organisation, dramaturgy and contextual staging that intuitive readings can be inspired in the viewer. In zero point everything Aran presents an experience that deals in affect rather than influence, emotion rather than deduction, conjunction of thought over connectivity of authorised ideas.

An artist punctuates and annotates a list, a letter, a children's story, a photo album or a family room. A poem gives way to a new meaning and shared ground – the creation of a new world in the very moment and conditions of its making. Poetry, much like zero point everything, slows down the functional capacity of language to explain, and in turn gives forth the conditions into which meaning can emerge. The attribution of meaning as a shared endeavour, as a site for the production of common ground.

Uri Aran (American, b. 1977, Jerusalem) lives and works in New York, and studied Design at the Cooper Union New York (2003) and Bezalel Academy Jerusalem (2004), before graduating with an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University, New York (2007). He has exhibited internationally with solo exhibitions including Take This Dog for Example, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2023); Oranges vs Them, Sadie Coles HQ, London (2021); Tenants Like These, Sadie Coles HQ, London (2019); Mice, Koelnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2016); and here, here and here, Kunsthalle Zürich (2013). Group exhibitions include Blade Memory II, Dortmunder Kunsteverein (2022); World(s), Wrocław 2022 Drawing Triennial, Wrocław Contemporary Museum (2022); 100 Drawings from Now, The Drawing Center, New York (2020); Platforms: Commissions and Collection, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2019); The annotated Reader, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2019); 99 Cents or Less, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2017); Question the Wall Itself, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2016); Take Me (I'm Yours), Jewish Museum, New York (2016); and the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.