Artists You Should Know
Yaron Hakim makes drawings/paintings that follow stories of colonialism and trade, across cultures, across the seas. They are a travelogue as viewed through the prism of 18th and 19th century racism and fear, sailing across our gallery spaces, transient and fleeting. Time and place, space and time, are condensed into a shifting kaleidoscope, which is acknowledged and placed front and center of the fearful unknown. The idea that traveling opens the mind and brings us closer to understanding our own humanity is rejected in these paintings. They reveal our urge towards dominance, violence and control.
Descriptions of cannibalism exacerbate the gulf between civilized and primitive, seen through the lens of those doing the describing. This leaves us with images that look like us but are not—a Them unrealized apart from ourselves, forever locked into what we already know, transcribing ourselves because we cannot truly see the Other; a sharp-edged mystery. Their rituals are placed into a context of our own, to try and relate it to the apprehensive consumers of the image. The perpetual outsider, the globe trekker, seeking answers and fascinated by the exotic while recognizing its fallacy, its lack of insight, its National Geographic distance.
A figurative/abstract blurring occurs, and yet Hakim’s images are clearly historical, using old books’ renderings of the dangers of travel and bloodthirsty savages. Their bright but limited palette is at odds with the sense of struggle and urgency within the figures or the separated limbs. Loosely transcribed, almost cartoony, onto the sailcloth surface, they jostle with uncertainty.
The wanderlust that seems integral to the artist is, as rendered on used sailcloth, a romantic piratical trade-wind of critique, blown off course and into adventure, on an imagined journey through the past, setting off into the future: www.yaronhakim.com (MP)