Yair Meshoulam is an artist from London who will be taking his The Texture of Consciousness / Struktur des Bewußtseins exhibition to Berlin in September 2013. It is a diverse collection of abstract collage works produced by the artist between 1994 and 2013. They present an ongoing study of the nature of human consciousness, often merging oppositional structures from the physical and metaphysical, anatomical and abstract. Whilst many of the works were produced nearly two decades ago, the exhibition will mark the starting point of a larger project that will result in a collaborative print publication due for release in 2014. This is due to continue the examinations set forth in The Texture of Consciousness, exploring the matter of consciousness from both a medical and philosophical perspective through a series of articles. Authors shall include Robert Silman (Philosopher), Dr Karl-Heinz-Pantke (Neurologist and locked-in syndrome specialist at Krankenhaus Königin Elisabeth) and Mark Fielding (London School of Philosophy) and will be produced in coordination with Tambar Arts Press, London.
Can you tell us a bit more about the process behind these works? Almost everything I do starts with a series of scribbly drawings in my back pocket. My process is about creating flow and activity, finding a conducive mood to think up new ideas, maximising mistakes and problem solving as a result. I do lots of sleeping and listening to music, to feed the non-verbal part of the brain.
How have these techniques developed over your career? ‘Vision of Ezekiel’s Chariot’ (1994) was the last painting I made on canvas, I have since found canvas too bouncy for the way that I like to handle paint. I often prefer to work with the surface flat to the table, as well as on a vertical easel. Working flat allows you time to play with the paint, as does finding the right viscosity. A wash or textured effect can happen on a prepared panel, so that the weave of the canvas doesn’t become an obstacle.
I have also found creatively, that focussing on one thing on a smaller scale becomes a big advantage when you want to explore a theme from multiple angles. How have you moved between anatomy and abstraction, and how do you think the consciousness you explore in this show links physical and metaphysical, or natural and human? This process is something that has always been best explored in a relaxed and open way, allowing itself to grow purely as a matter of research and interest. Each human body is unique, but the anatomical artist takes these differences and finds a common thread to describe how the human body fits together. Like the architect’s floor plans and elevations, they have a purpose of describing a place, and use a set of visual codes that abstract the physical information into a metaphysical diagram.
the waterfront like a big statue of consciousness, a statue of Liberty for a far eastern city or anywhere around the world. So, in this painting everyone is plugged into the internet, and at that moment there is a flash of light in the sky. Gold leaf does the job nicely and has references to depictions of a heavenly space, plus gold doesn’t decay and conducts electricity very well. So it is physical and metaphysical at the same time, and that provides a kind of alchemical magic. Although the title of the painting is humorous, I am sure that the Dalai Lama has an email address that has been hacked a few times. Isn’t the Buddha’s moment of enlightenment an example of file sharing?
In the Body Grain series I have made a fake wood grain effect with paint. This involves a solid backdrop colour, washes of paint and markings using a variety of special brushes and rollers. When you collage the drawings onto the painted wood grain, and incorporate the language of both by over-painting and accentuating marks, you make a hybrid of the human concept and the natural. It is like a fossil of an animal embedded in a rock. The two become one, and that seems to be a reoccurring theme in the exploration of consciousness. ‘Buddha Hacks The Internet’ (2012) Oil and Gold Leaf on Board
Here the link between the physical and the metaphysical is like a metro map placed over a road map. One helps you read the other, and then you realise they are descriptions of the same place.
Can you explain how Buddha Hacks The Internet came about? At the time there was a lot of news on the radio in the studio about data spying, but I was just thinking about circuit boards and information systems, and how the internet was a form of consciousness that we dip into and out of. So I made some drawings and cut out the circuit board in the shape of a Buddha and stuck it on
How will the matter of consciousness be explored outside the art-work, talks or book? Can you tell us more about the people who might be speaking at the private view on Sat 21st? The matter of consciousness will be explored from a medical and philosophical perspective to answer how the human mind, or indeed the wider universe, can become conscious of itself. Robert Silman from Tambar Arts Press (London) is going to publish a book with photos of my art-work in the show at the Weekend Gallery together with articles from numerous authors, including Mark
Fielding from the London School of Philosophy; Dr Karl-Heinz Pantke a Neuroscientist and Locked-in syndrome specialist from the Krankenhaus Königin Elisabeth institute in Berlin; and also Robert himself who studied philosophy at the Sorbonne and went on to be a neurologist in London, and now is a theatre producer and publisher.
see everything else afterwards.
What is it that you enjoy about exhibiting in Berlin? I have been to Berlin four times, always putting up shows and enjoying the company of friends. There is a creative residue that builds up in a city like this one, even when it is in flux, maybe even because it is in flux. Berlin feels very good, and you can be yourself, which is always one of the best things about living in a city.
The Texture of Consciousness runs Friday 20th September to Sunday 13th October 2013.
How do you hope people will react to seeing the paintings? I like a painting to reveal something to me that I have not seen before in that way, and then affect the way I
I don’t know exactly how other people react, but I hope they look closer and find something more. ___
The Weekend Gallery, 62 Schloβstraβe, Charlottenburg, Berlin 14059 Open Fri - Sun, 11am - 6pm. Admission Free S-bahn: Berlin-Westend U-bahn: Sophie-Charlotte-Platz (U2) / RichardWagner-Platz (U7) www.facebook.com/yairmeshoulamart
‘Fish Can’ Detail (1996) Oil on Board