Shimon Reznik – Living and Breathing Space and Material

Drawing iron 

Shimon Reznik's work process begins in his mind. Reznik "feels" the sculpture's mass begin to form, sees it with his very eyes and examines it from every possible angle. Each initial idea for a sculpture is examined via a series of sketches – a continuous motion of limitless objects, as each change brings with it another object, similar to a futuristic-photographic creative force. Unlike the Futuristic movement of the early 20th century and its technological influences, Reznik aspires to express a free meditative state in space, which challenges material throughout its various stages of creation – from the drawing board and the processing of raw iron, to the finished sculpture.

Motion and Gliding

Shimon Reznik's work, as personified in his drawings and sculpture, exemplifies the complexity and inner storms that are a part of the search for ideal balance. On one hand, Reznik charges the sculptural mass with clear and obvious motion, while on the other hand the formative expression contains dialogue between inner and outer scopes, as well as a gliding quality that provides  the body with a full view while in motion from inside to outside, maintaining the current state, touching/not touching with immense quietness. This work shares attributes with Constantin Brancusi's 1928 bronze work, 'Bird in Space'.

Balance

Reznik's drawings and sculptures move in complex ways. While this is evident in all of his works, it is apparent that his sculptures are laden with vertical motion – a balance between sky and earth, as the sculpture stands between them. This balance is not common, as people move in linear, frontal and horizontal fashion. In Reznik's work, this vertical balance has no focal stopping point – it moves upwards, above the statues, into space and back. The foundation for Reznik's sculptures is narrow – it seems as if the motion of the vertical no-mass is symbolic of the artist himself, in his local-Israeli and historic-Jewish persona, which in retrospect is still not firmly in place.

Cause & Effect Processes 

Reznik's body of work lives and breathes the I/O space. The essence of his work and its uniqueness lie in the way his art brings the viewer close to the metaphysic, to the structure of sprit within the human body. The same goes for the way Reznik treats the material. It is an intimate process, with a deep feeling for elasticity, softness and even transparency. Reznik visualizes the iron's reaction to a temperature higher than that of a human body, to the way the body repels or digests changes in formation, and the way it adopts a different material within itself and aspires to be new and whole.

Flowing Spirit and Gaping Body

Reznik's sculptures emphasize the essential gap between the place and the transcendent that exist within it, exemplifying the contrast and alienation between them. This is an expression of the ideal complexity that exists when one brings the two together: place-body and spirit. This abstract visibility, where the no-body (present-absent) whose center is open to space, is a repeat representation of the essence of Reznik's works.

Abstract / Lyrical Language

Reznik's drawings and sculptures are void of sharp and concrete physical definition. Rather, they offer viewers an iconic perception, as an architype that represents the thought process and the dilemma that creates art. This principle is visibly similar to the one that exists throughout the history of art, from Greek civilization and black figures drawn on vases – a basic, generic sight.

  • Reznik's expression via a minimalistic, clean and elegant language, a modern language, which stems from a precise relationship between line and space. As such, his work situates itself as an image beyond time.
     

  • What is the idea hidden within Shimon Reznik's iron drawing images? It is possible that the representation of the spiritual realm and the search for its plastic definition is a form of insatiable desire – the image is non-corporeal and therefore lacking in figurative reality. It is present and absent at the same time.
     

  • This essence can be a metaphor for existence and lack thereof, or even more – a multi-dimensional, multi-conscious existence. This idea representation stems from a search and a path that exist within a different realm, as an ideal expression of the essence of the path and the search, which encompass the attempt for balance and its lyrical manifestation.
     

  • To understand the relationship between space and image that make up the whole in Reznik's work – both in his drawings and sculptures – it is worth mentioning the concept of HORROR VACUI passed to us from 5th century BC Greek art. A series of decorations between figures, which postpone emptiness.
     

  • Reznik hides emptiness. In fact, he uses it wisely – the drawing lines in his work penetrate emptiness and conduct a balanced dialogue that allow the viewers' eyes to continue their movement, following the sculpture lines as if they are one, penetrating each other and creating a synergetic, energy-laden image.
     

  • Past Present, a sculpting project inspired by the Holocaust: "We are now nearing the end of a time period, and the Holocaust will have stand without the survivors, without their obsessions, without their determination to live the memory each and every day. As long as the many survivors walked among us, the Holocaust had a palpable presence. The Holocaust had a first name, a last name, a city, a town, and a village. The survivor told a story – or refused to. His or her presence, walk and silence were testament. "… - It is now clear that this difficult task of preserving the memory and passing it to the future generations cannot be carried out by historiography alone. There is a need for additional insight to lift this heavy load. Until recently, art was careful to assume a central role in this mission. Prose, poetry, visual art, music, drama and cinema all stood aside. "… - After the death of the last witnesses, we cannot deposit the memory of the Holocaust in the hands of historians alone. It is now the time for artistic creation." – As written by Aharon Appelfeld in 2005, in an article published in Haaretz Newspaper.
     

  • In a series of sculptures dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust, which were situated in 2012 as a permanent exhibit at the "Shem Olam" Institute, Reznik creates a process that would last two years, beginning with a journey to the concentration camps in Poland, a journey he would embark on after years of living in Israel, where he immigrated to as a young child in 1949.  Reznik's life stations are steeped in Israeli society, from his experiences as an educator to his participation in the Yom Kippur War and his work as an alternative therapist. From these and more, Reznik arrived at his sculptures – where he defines the meaning of his identity, his family's identity and the interaction with his life surroundings in Europe after World War II.
     

  • In the sculpture series, Reznik examines two Holocaust-related concepts: the image of man and his identity. This artistic examination and sculptural representation is divided into two: one is an iconography that moves on the time axis, from an eastern European town, throughout the journey (the "Suitcase" and "Talit" sculptures) and the World War to life in post-war Israel ("Ka Tzetnik" sculpture), as well as local-cultural representation as exemplified in the "Sabra" sculpture. These works are narrative in nature, and figurative as instant images that burn into Reznik's consciousness, recreated as iron sculptures.
     

  • The second group of works in this series examine the identity of the artist and his family. Reznik is loyal to his path and his artistic language. The sculptures in the series continue the search for the line that depicts movement and a form of gliding – a near detachment of the figure from the earth (the "Youth" Sculpture). The iron figures are indeed rugged, torn and made from recycled materials, unlike many of Reznik's refined, smooth and flowing sculptures, yet these figures maintain an elongated proportion that adds to and extenuates their upwards movement. In these sculptures, Reznik's drawing line becomes shadow-stains of man as rising smoke (the "Family" sculpture) – evidence and memory of his childhood before arriving in Israel.
     

  • The Studio; a process of sculpting and casting, an artist community and the work of an artist-mentor: the age in which we live in, at the start of the 21st century, is defined by a clear change of perception and the way we develop, both professionally and socially, as well as in the way we perceive "the other". Internet communication has accelerated, empowered and sharpened our personal capabilities. Every person's ability to express his or her ideas in a variety of fields and spread them instantly has completely changed inter-personal interaction and even more, has changed the "old-world" balance in which a small number of people held power via knowledge and proficiency. This transparency, which stems from the essence of the internet and the great strength of social networks, has made knowledge accessible to all. The combination of these characteristics and more, has created a reality where knowledge sharing and high motivation for collaboration between individuals facilitate new, synergetic creations.
     

  • Shimon Reznik's social and professional outlook was shaped over the course of three centuries. Reznik, an experienced iron sculptor, is a graduate of the Midrasha in Ramat Hasharon (1979), and also has two decades of experience as a teacher and youth counselor. Reznik's capabilities blend into his work in his art studio, and his vast expertise in iron sculpting has prompted him to create a casting studio where he shares his knowledge with his students. According to Reznik, the casting process, which requires proficiency that others keep to themselves, should be shared with great transparency, allowing expanding circles of sculptors and students to continue to develop and share their knowledge with future generations. The Reznik studio tradition improves the capabilities of both individuals and groups who participate in the art creation process. Reznik's tendency towards knowledge sharing is coherent with the world's current impressive transparency trends, and allows his studio to become a relevant social-artistic platform.

 

Amir Cohen,

Summer 2016