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Ariel Schlesinger (born 1980, Jerusalem) is an Israeli artist who lives and works in Berlin and Mexico City. His diverse body of work navigates sculpture, conceptual art, and installation art. Schlesinger’s installations often dislocate everyday objects, rearranging them in ways that leave viewers simultaneously amused and apprehensive. In 2017, Schlesinger won an international competition to design a public work for the entrance of the newly renovated Jewish Museum in Frankfurt.
Life and work
Between 1999 and 2003, Schlesinger studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Since moving to Berlin shortly after his graduation, he’s been awarded residencies in Germany, France, Italy and Japan. In 2012, Schlesinger was named “VHV-Artist of the Year,” earning a €25,000 prize from the German insurance and reinsurance company VHV Group. The work for which he won the prize, A Car Full of Gas, has been exhibited in Berlin and across Europe.
His installations, sometimes deemed “space-interventions”, consist of ordinary objects, including cars, gas tanks, bikes, lighters, pencils, paper and socks, which are arranged in ways that both de-familiarize their everyday meaning and generate unexpected, humorous, and sinister associations. In his work A Car Full of Gas, for example, it is not human passengers that sit in the front seats of a vintage mini car, but rather two, 60-litre gas canisters, inevitably anthropomorphized given their context. From one of the car windows, a small flame burns. The clean, everyday elegance of the work has been read as an omen of catastrophe. Perhaps nobody has been as precise as Gal Katz in capturing a key motive of Schlesinger’s work: the tension between the order of perfectly immaculate objects and arrangements, on the one hand, and a poignant sense of looming calamity, on the other.
In 2017, Schlesinger won an international competition to design a large-scale public work for the newly renovated Jewish Museum of Frankfurt. The proposal consists of an 11-meter tall sculpture composed of two trees whose branches are connected such that the roots of one tree point to the sky, while the other is firmly rooted in the ground. The estimated cost of producing and installing the work, largely financed by the Rothschild family, is €350,000.
- 2003: Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art
- 2005, 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2016: Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv
- 2007: Galleria Klerkx, Milan
- 2008: 2010 and 2014: Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin and Ljublijana
- 2011: Musée du Chateau de Montbeliard, Montbeliard; Kunstverein, Braunschweig
- 2012: Yvon Lambert, Paris; Sint-Lukasgalerie, Brussels; Künstlerhaus, Bremen
- 2014: Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz
- 2015: Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia
- "Ariel Schlesinger ist VHV-Künstler des Jahres 2012". HAZ – Hannoversche Allgemeine (in German). Retrieved 2018-05-26.
- "Kunsthausbaselland – Ariel Schlesinger". kunsthausbaselland.ch (in German). Archived from the original on 2018-05-27. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
- Schlesinger, Ariel; Katz, Gal; Meder, Katrin (2011). Wagner, Hilke; Voltz, Aurélie (eds.). Catastrophe is Subjective (in English, German, and French). Braunschweig : Kunstverein Braunschweig - Montbéliard : Musée du Chatêau des Ducs de Wurtemberg. ISBN 978-3-929270-78-5.
- Riebsamen, Hans (2017-11-29). "Baum-Skulptur Jüdisches Museum: Verwurzelt und entwurzelt". FAZ.NET (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
- Internetseite ARTfacts