"Jerusalem: Beneath the Surface"
Through his art, Israeli artist Avner Sher, embarks on a quest to explore and examine the deep universal meanings of Jerusalem.
“I strive to bring things to the surface. I always have the feeling that there is a secret behind everything that I want to uncover. Like an archaeologist who sifts through and pieces together fragments of his findings, then probes deeper to discover their inner significance, I, too, search for the spiritual origins and deeper meaning behind the material evidence.”
Sher’s choice of material is cork. Cork is the external bark of the Cork Oak tree, peeled off the trunk once every nine years. The trees withstand repeated trauma but are also in constant process of regeneration and growth. Sher treats the cork aggressively: he etches, scorches, burns and floods the cork with color from unusual sources such as red wine, iodine, laundry detergent and ink. He creates an archaeology and history for the material.
Then, in a primordial language that transcends cultural differences and celebrates symbols, traditions and myths, he concocts imagery that is both universal and individual, suffused with his own biography yet offers viewers a map of their inner layers of the world in which they live, its origins and yearnings.
His starting point is Jerusalem – a city without spiritual walls or boundary lines - “For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Hebrews11:10): Maps of Jerusalem are intertwined with maps of Berlin, Torino and Palermo; fictitious puzzle pieces, each engraved with tiny symbols of diverse places and cultures form part of one unified work; tall obelisks, evoking the memory of the mighty Egyptian grandeur, are flooded with cryptograms of the Ten Plagues.
“My works are typified by an act of violently wounding the cork boards and cork peels. And then comes the healing. The ultimate expression of hope that out of the destruction, underneath what seems to be divided and discordant, rests an undeniable eternal universal truth of harmony; undivided common denominator for all people; the emergence of wholesome unifying spiritual truth that is the principle of eternity!”