Upon entering PSM, a box-like wall positioned off-center in the main gallery space greets you. This purpose-built, simple plasterboard wall (21, 22, 23, Boom) has a large, asymmetrical hole cut out of it. In the hole Reichman has placed a 3-D print, which was modeled on a “blast hole.” Blast holes are used by militaries around the globe to simulate explosive damage. While the nature of this wall installation may have a hostile origin, Reichman’s goal was not really to draw attention to this, but rather to create a physical reminder of the effect of living (much of) our visual lives online. Viewed on a computer screen, these holes look like they are from a film set, and do not evince the serious
purpose for which they are built. In the process of seeing such images we become endistanced from the actuality of threat and the use of violence against it.
Reichman has also made a new series of sculptures (Reminiscing Virtual Landscapes) that take their shape from a video of an explosion, digital shards of a sort. A camera was attached to a missle in an effort to show how precisely it could hit its target; watched all the way to the end you come to the scrambled static that is the explosion. The 3-D prints are filled with ceramic cement and then polished on top, creating a modernist-like totem of the physicality of highly abstracted digital imagery.
Reichman further presents several series of paintings, including his new series of “cloud” paintings, which use photos of the Israeli air defense system known as the Iron Dome in action, blowing up missiles from Gaza mid-air. Again, the inspiration for the work—photos Reichman took from his basement window in Tel Aviv—highlights encounters with conflict that make it seem unreal and far away, when it is in fact anything but. The works in The View Outside My Basement Window are a physical manifestation of the intangible nature of most of our interaction with war and violence—it is distant, desensitized, anesthetized—on the computer screen or even through a window. To rephrase Susan Sontag’s thoughts on the pain of others, being a spectator of calamities taking place somewhere else, to someone else, is the quintessential contemporary experience.
Born in South Africa, Ariel Reichman immigrated to Israel in 1991 and has been living in Berlin since 2006. Reichman studied at the Universität der Künste, Berlin, in the class of Hito Steyerl, and the Bezalel Academy of Art, Jerusalem. He works across different media, including photography, drawing, sculpture, and installation. In his practice, he examines subjective memories, daily rituals, and fantasies, considering the ways in which intimacy can help explain the political, and life more generally. His practice is sometimes referred to as conceptual expressionism.