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My installation practice represents an ongoing urban reconstruction project. I take fragments of local urban esthetics (the sidewalk, a construction site, public toilets) displacing them, shifting them into matter, in the gallery or museum. These large scale installations attempt to activate and evoke all the viewer's senses. The sense of smell, combined with sound, accompanies a strong physical relationship with the artwork, that evolves as the viewer walks beside it, around it or on it.


In relation to these urban elements I am captivated by the question of object comprehension. Is the perception of the readymade objects fundamentally changed by the shift that composes my installation? With this question, I leap into my ultimate preoccupation with object comprehension: What is it that makes an object art?


I aim to compel the viewer to encounter the work twice, first in the gallery, and then in its urban space. Hopefully his conception of these familiar urban elements, like the elements themselves, is shifted.


My work often employs mythology, embedding stories from different historical and religious origins into the pieces. The myths include themes of responsibility, sex and death. These elements act prosaically - readymade. Combined with readymade sculptural elements, they tempt the viewer into seemingly familiar territory, as all my installations are naturally integrated into the architecture of the exhibition space.  Yet the ground is treacherous, leaving the spectator in a psychological void between myth and reality, the concrete and potentiality, dream and nightmare. 


My creative process can be described as practically suicidal, in the sense that a great effort is made, with virtually no outcome.  All of my installations are site specific for the display space, and demolished after exhibition, ending as construction waste.

In my work the sacred and its antithesis engage in a perpetual struggle to separate in a magnetic field of attraction. Fine minimalistic art versus non-artistic, readymade pieces. Fine modernistic architecture versus the neglected street. The museum - the modern temple versus sewers.

Shai Ratner

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