Since the late ’60s Amikam Toren has been addressing the ways in which representation can incorporate that which it represents. His is a unique practice. Subjecting the object to destruction or reduction, or extrapolating from its function and form, he extracts its physical matter to use as material for its own richer representation. In this simultaneous act of destruction and creation it is made clear that anything can serve a useful function in art. Now we have the chance to explore the extraordinary work to which Toren has applied his alchemy.
Amikam Toren addresses the basic nature of objects and images. He uses the materiality, function or form of things, re-representing them in a way that is an ‘improvement’ or reinvention of their original state. Language, meaning and interpretation are other central preoccupations in Toren’s work.
Born in Israel, 1945, Toren has lived in London since 1968 and has had solo exhibitions at The Serpentine Gallery, 1976; The Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1979; Chisenhale Gallery and Arnolfini, Bristol, 1991. His work has been included in the Paris Biennale, 1967; Venice Biennale, 1982; Tyne International, 1993 and the 4th Guangzhou Triennial, 2012. Other recent exhibitions include the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2008; Neuberger Museum of Art, New York, 2009; Jerwood Drawing Prize, 2011; Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2010, 2012 and 2015; John Moores Painting Prize, 2012; The Hite Foundation, Korea, 2013 and solo shows with MOT Brussels, 2014 and Art Seen Projects, Nicosia, 2015. Toren was awarded the Bryan Robertson Trust Award in 2012.His first solo exhibition in the USA was at the Jessica Silverman Gallery in San Francisco, 2013 where he showed again in 2017. He was included in the exhibition Unorthodox at the Jewish Museum, New York, 2015 and Anthony Reynolds Gallery staged a solo presentation of Toren’s work as part of Back to the Future at Artissima, Turin in 2015. Further solo exhibitions were Framework/Ossatura at FL Gallery Milan in collaboration with Anthony Reynolds Gallery in 2017 and Safe City at Matt’s Gallery in 2018. His most comprehensive survey exhibition to date This Way Up launched in 2020 on www.pataphysic.com remains live. His recent show at Wolfson College, Cambridge has just come to an end but the accompanying publication by Phillip Lindley is available. Toren also exhibits regularly at the Noga Gallery, Tel Aviv and has been represented by Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London since 1985.
Organised by Professor Sarah Wilson (The Courtauld) and Professor Sussan Babaie (The Courtauld) as part of their Frank Davis Memorial Lecture series titled ‘Exiles and Émigrés’.