Middle East  

Two-objects Installation (2020).

 

Text below

Carpet: 100 x 80 cm

Mirror: 86 x 47 cm

Polyester, cotton, wood, varnish, acrylics, plaster


 

Middle East is a site specific installation comprised of two artworks. On the left, a faux-velvet oriental carpet, hanging partially on the vertical wall of the gallery.
Printed on it is the image of a typical, “general” Middle Eastern soil. The print is actually a digitally manipulated collage of different Middle Eastern landscapes from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Egypt. The result is the image of a terrain that “looks” Middle Eastern but doesn’t belong to any place in particular, nor actually really exists: it is the physical, anonymous manifestation of the “idea” of Middle Eastern land and, in a way, of the identity of its inhabitants, as the surface of the carpet changes color according to our point of view, turning “white” or “brown” depending on where we stand.
A golden mirror frame is hung to the wall. Inside of it though, the reflective surface has turned into stone, creating a Petrosomatoglyph, a supposed image of a human part or action imprinted in rock, a very common folklore in the region, as for example is the “Ascension Rock” in Jerusalem, which is said to contain the right footprint of Christ.
Such symbolically-charged stones have often been the source of conflicts in and pilgrimages to the area.
The  impression on the Ascension Rock is said to have been made as Jesus ascended into Heaven and is venerated by believers as the last point on earth touched by his body, while the impression of the left foot was transported into the Al-Aqsa mosque.
However, the rock featured in the installation contains an impression of an event that is devoid of clear history: it contains the characteristics of the sacred, but its symbol is ignored, in fact forgotten or constructed altogether.

Elena Ceretti Stein © 2020

© 2020 by Elena Ceretti Stein