At first glance one can’t really say what they are.
They Look like they might be explosions of some kind held still, minerals caught on camera while conglomerating, or maybe mega-enlargements of fibre or woven textiles.
They might be objects of magic or decoration.
For artist Carmel Ilan it is important to keep this ambiguity.
These round, centric forms emit an air of great chaos and ultimate order, they have no beginning nor end.
Or like the transformation of material and its sublimation into an object and a symbol.
When in her forties, and after a previous career as a designer, Carmel Ilan started experimenting with sculpture.
“I was seeking for a material that would talk to me, and I discovered I felt comfortable working with abandoned paper. It is readily available, and highly charged – and enabled me to express freely”
Carmel likes the idea that “It takes a moment to understand what you’re seeing.”
Her search of “Unfamiliar Places” landed her with objects that “don’t fall neatly into definitions of painting or sculpture; they are somewhere in-between”.
“I work with pages taken out of encyclopedias, notebooks, magazines, old books and journals. I make use of the richness of these pages: their colors and hues, the density of the text, the beauty of various languages in print, the fonts and typesetting, the thickness of the paper.”
Over the years, as intimacy with the material deepened, the paper folds became more and more diverse.
“I strip a book off its binding, I separate the pages, cut them up strip by strip and then patiently fold each strip.”
The fragility of paper dictates the pace of the work. It’s done manually, meditatively, like ancient crafts, like weaving, sewing and knitting.
“Non-mechanical and not precise – the mistakes I make are within the objects, their life.”
The works on view are printed scans of these hand made objects.
“The sisyphic, intricate system of folding I developed I found compatible with scanning.
Through scanning the actual object is transformed into a new, flat representation of something that once was like paper itself. ”
“The scanned image highlights certain characteristics of the sculpted works that are hidden in the original.
It is going deeper and exploring further, getting into the depth of the works while creating a new object, itself made from the even older paper.”
“I love the paper that carries memories of extirpated roots, a heart divided into the living, the growing and the inanimate.”