One in the mouth and one in the heart
Oren Pinhassi

April 7 – May 19, 2018

Peer through the window, frosted with vaseline, into the palm pavilion sprung in the middle of the gallery. Peep the anthropomorphic figure standing erect behind the shower curtains. It is difficult to ascertain whether we are standing in a public space or intruding upon an intimate moment. If the affect is discomfiting, it is what the sculptor Oren Pinhassi intended. In One in the mouth and one in the heart, his solo show at Skibum MacArthur, Pinhassi prods us to confront our notions of the salacious and taboo, the social mores and religious dogma that shape our reactions, and the pavilions we architect to house and hide our wants and, at times, shame.

In the new sculptural installations, Pinhassi continues his abstracted renditions of gay cruising spots, from bathhouse to parks. These sexually charged, communal spaces where hidden desires are exchanged are rendered in handsy buildup of plaster and mediated with blurred boundaries of glass and shower curtains. Pinhassi’s humanized minimalism transgresses categories. The abstract turns figurative. Industrially manufactured readymades are transmogrified in nature drag—umbrellas becoming palm fronds, burlap hanging supine and languid on a towel rack like human fruit. The orifices on the figure gape at us, overt yet communicating in code.

Redolent of baths, the installations tap into our anxiety over bodily excretions and evoke our ritualistic absolution of filth. Ultimately, these architectural spaces, both physical and psychological, created by Pinhassi make us face our trouble with honesty, vis-a-vis ourselves, our sexuality, those we love most. Desire and shame. Truth and guilt. One in the mouth and one in the heart.

Oren Pinhassi (Tel Aviv, 1985; he lives and works in New York). He studied at the Yale School of Art in 2014, and at the Hamidrasha Beit-Berl college in 2011. Solo shows of his work have been held in institutions and galleries, including the Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Petach-Tikva, Israel, 2017; RIBOT Gallery, Milan, 2017; New Capital Projects, Chicago, 2016; 55 Gansevoort, New York, 2015; 83 Pitt Street, New York, 2015; Tempo Rubato, Tel Aviv, 2012. He has taken part in residencies at the Shandanken Project at Storm King Sculpture Park, New York, 2016 and at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine, 2014. Pinhassi has, furthermore, been awarded the following prizes: Fannie B. Pardee Prize, Yale School of Art, 2014; The Art Slant Prize, 2014; Shlomo Witkin Prize, 2011 and the Excellence Program Scholarship, Israeli Ministry of Education, 2011.