Fragile Traces, Treacherous Sands: Ronen Sharabani and Micha Ullman’s Intergenerational Encounter

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This paper addresses an intriguing intergenerational encounter between Micha Ullman (b. Tel Aviv 1939), one of Israel’s most prominent senior artists, and Ronen Sharabani (b. Tel Aviv 1974), a young media artist. The two artists’ otherwise divergent practices converge in their use of sand and red earth as their primary media. The paper brings Mieke Bal’s concept of migratory aesthetics and Jill Bennett’s phenomenological approach to trauma-related art to bear on Ullman’s fragile earth installations and perforated sand tables, and on Sharabani’s projections of Virtual Reality onto sand. Also addressed is Sharabani’s series Vitual Territories (2019), in which digitally manipulated views from Google Earth probe geographical sites that resonate with migratory histories. The paper traces two main trajectories upon which the oeuvres of Ullman and Sharabani interface. The first category, “treacherous sands”, relates to installations involving sand tables and other containers of soil. In turn, the category of “fragile traces” addresses installations that feature various architectural ground plans modeled in sand. In these installations, sand is the quintessential terra infirma. At the same time, however, the paper proposes that through the haptic appeal of the medium of sand, these installations counter the pervasive anxiety of shifting ground with an augmented sense of bodily presence
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)73
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


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