Avi Yair – Untitled (2017)
These are enormously eye catching for a number of different reasons–the dynamism of the design elements (each of these four is exceedingly graphically astute in it’s use of line, shape and form–I especially like the way that the collage interventions are structured in order to convey the work has been stripped away to reveal an underlying image; that to me renders these less collage than sculptural excavation).
There’s also a lot of notions of representing three dimensions in two–but in a way that is fundamentally between two and three dimensions.
The inclusion of maps is especially poignant beings as maps are inherently problematic. There’s the simple fact that Euclidian geometry breaks down when you move away from the 2D into the 3D, for example an equilateral triangle inscribed on the surface of a sphere does not form a closed triangle, it’s just three different lines that share a connection to each other but do not form a contained shape.
Historically, this has caused all kinds of misunderstandings. The maps with which most of us are familiar preference the northern hemisphere and western hemisphere (for example Brazil is roughly the same size as the Lower 48 but looking at a typical map, you’d not easily grasp that; also, the US and Europe are presented in relationship to each other and then secondly the rest of the world is added in in relation to them.
Maps also delineate boundaries between geopolitical nation-states, boundaries between water and land, etc. Thus, it feels like the presence of naked bodies speaks to questions of boundaries as far as what is appropriate, what isn’t, what is celebratory, empowering and natural vs. sexualized or otherwise libidinous.
If that were all these did, I feel that would be interesting but not necessarily conceptually ambitious enough. The thing that appeals to me is that the interplay between maps and bodies begs questions of the discrepancies between accurately representing three dimensions in two and referential utility. (In a lot of my current grad school research practice: I keep coming back to Borges’ On Exactitude in Science postulates a kingdom so obsessed with its own accurate mapping that a map is commissioned that ends up being the same size as the terrain it purports to map. In the end, it ends up rolled up and rotting in the desert.
Or, to put it another way (if you are–like me–of a decidedly Wittgenstein-ian bent: explanations come to an end somewhere.