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The Book of Changes / Marik Lechner at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art

Recipient of the Lauren & Mitchell Presser Contemporary Art Grant
The exhibition features eleven huge tapestries from a series produced by Marik Lechner over the past three years. The woolen tapestries recount an epic apocalyptic tale of dynamic visions of life cycles under existential threat. The tapestry cycle offers a dystopian and fantastic outlook, a realm of abjection and magic, in a language that blends direct expressiveness, childish naivety, and dark symbolic mystery.
Over the years, Lechner has focused his work on oil paintings, drawings, and watercolors, but a few years ago he surprisingly presented a series of modestly-sized works that were all manually woven and deliberately poorly crafted. This revealed his attraction to labor-intensive handicrafts and textile works. For him, it was a connection to traditions that he has known since childhood as the son of a family of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. “On the walls of our house in Chernovitz,” he explains, “were hung colorful tapestries woven with figures from the world of legend, Russian mythology, and folklore. In Russia, tapestries were used as decoration and as a form of thermal insulation and room temperature control. Even after the move to Israel, they continued to adorn the walls of our home, despite the abrupt change in housing, climate, and culture.”
Lechner has transformed the familiar tapestry patterns into overtly brutal narratives which, notwithstanding the symbolic encoding, hold a mirror to our contemporary reality: intimidating creatures that viciously feed on each other, the pain of loss, imprisonment, addiction, preying on the weak, and fear of loneliness, disease, weakness, and death. The echoes of the past year are also evident in chaotic scenes of disarray. The tapestries are woven expressively, with threads of varying lengths, unraveled sections, holes, spray gluing, and spray painting onto the tapestry weave. Lechner’s tapestries may be read as part of a long tradition of fulmination against the existing order. It is a protest charged, in his case, with the cultural shock of immigration – a seed of calamity that erupts in the act of weaving, activated by an electric tufting gun that repeatedly pierces the fabric of the cloth with a prickly blade, perforating it like a machine gun.

Marik Lechner was born in 1967 in Ukraine, immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, and lives and works in Be’er Ya’akov. Lechner graduated with highest honours from HaMidrasha School of Arts in 2001. He has had solo shows at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Givon Art Gallery, Tel Aviv; and Feinkunst Kr?ger Gallery, Hamburg among others, and has participated in group exhibitions in Germany, Latvia and Israel.

Curator: Dr. Aya Lurie Read more

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