Yaron Michael Hakim

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What Is My Work About? 

I make objects and spaces that teeter between sculpture and painting, life and art, the functional and non-functional. Through the filtering of forms, imagery, and practices I have absorbed throughout my peripatetic life, I create artifact-like objects that hold personal meaning. I am pleased when I can create a work that is neither here nor there, something familiar and simultaneously unfamiliar. This in-betweenness or displacement in my work is a reflection of my own deep feelings of placelessness, torn between desiring cultural permanence and not wanting any specific cultural or national identity.


Artist Statement

Shifting between sculpture, painting, installation, video and performance, I create objects and spaces. I am drawn to the unknown. That mysterious space occupied by the mystical and uncanny, like a ruin offering a multiplicity of meaning. That in-between space which is familiar and unfamiliar is what I strive for in my work.

I was born in Colombia and raised by Israeli parents in Australia, England and Switzerland. Later, I briefly lived in India and now reside in Los Angeles. I feel a natural affinity with these locations as well as an accompanying disconnection. Although somewhat unique, my postmodern experience is becoming more widely relatable.

Art can be unreal in that it has the ability to transport you to an alternative reality like mythology. My work emerges as artifact-like objects resulting from an idiosyncratic logic that filters forms and imagery through aspects of my personal history. I take great pleasure in the process when hand and mind unite in an intuitive intelligence, each decision feeding the next. For me the hand in process has the power to imbue a level of sacredness into an object. This is explored in a recent body of work (images 1-10 and 20), examples of which are Venus Rising, 2014, Dream Catcher, 2014, Ornament, 2014, and Shiva Me Timbers, 2014.

My installations form spaces poised at the point of activation. In Sacred White Sculpture, 2013, I handcrafted a 22ft. outrigger sailing canoe and sailed it off the coast of California. Within the gallery, divorced from the ocean, the vessel rested in its unrealized potential. Out on the ocean, it became a vehicle to experience a space between two locations where notions of political boarders dissolve, allowing autonomy and the sublime to reign in continual movement.

In Cipher, 2012, I constructed a large raised structure on stilts. At the entrance two columns made of concrete and wood rose 12ft. high. Up the plank, floorboards rattled from the low frequency tone emanating from the subwoofer below. Inside an obscure projection of a lightning storm flashed on the back wall of stretched fabric. Cipher created a visceral trepidation simulating the sensation of departing on an uncertain journey, where both excitement and fear are present.

Another architecturally influenced work, Post Tenebras Lux, 2011, is a shack-like construction that began from a vague memory of an edifice featured in the movie El Topo by Alejandro Jodorowski. The exterior is constructed out of two paintings and found wood held together through joinery and pegs. Long thin troths of beeswax flank the interior, and blacked-out portraits hang adorned with stitched fabrics. The centerpiece a shrouded head in black and gold fabric. A large jar of blood rests to the right on the sand covered floor. Blood pumps up to the appendages that lie motionless in the rafters above.

Flag, 2012 and Drapeau, 2012 are constructed from multiple flags that have been obscured with layers of black paint. The weight impedes their intended use. By visually deconstructing these flags, through cutting, stitching and painting, new banners are realized untethered to any nation or political view.

M-Series reimagines the moon through mutations of form, in the absorption and abstraction of this celestial body. The symbol of the moon has appeared in my work for over a decade continuously morphing and taking on new meaning. For me this spherical image is timeless and mystical. Our natural satellite and counterpart to the sun, is both full and empty. It has the power to shift tides and arguable shift us.

Currently, I am working on two projects, Drone Island, and Salt. Drone Island, extends questions explored by Sacred White Sculpture, 2013. I am designing an uninhabited floating sculpture that will be launched into the ocean. I like the idea of having my art circulating the globe without a destination. Drone Island proposes an autonomous non-stationary space. Salt is a mineral we take for granted. It was once a source of great wealth and in high demand. Salt has many uses, it is a preservative, it is used in rituals, and it is essential to our diets. The practice of making salt goes as far back as the Neolithic period. It is dissolved in our collective memory and noticeable in our language and idioms. I am mining this medium through an intoxicated displaced narrative that will result in a video driven installation.



Education 2013
MFA, University of California, Irvine, CA 2002
BFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Solo Exhibitions
2013  “Sacred White Sculpture”, University Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, CA
2012  “Drapeau”, Flag Pole Gallery, Irvine, CA
2010  “A Death Poem II”, RUINE, Geneva, Switzerland
2009 “Eight Oceans Go Dry”, RUINE, Geneva, Switzerland
Group Exhibitions
“Missed Connections”, The Veranda, Los Angeles, CA
“Hidden Art”, Meteor, Gota Canal, Sweden
“Public Offerings: 20/20”, Autonomie, Los Angeles, CA
“MFA Thesis Exhibition”, ForYourArt, Los Angeles, CA
“Curatorial Exchange”, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Curator: Doug Harvey, Irvine, CA
“BOOM”, Den Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA
“In Search of the Miraculous”, Room Gallery, Irvine, CA
“Soiling My Royal Oats”, Kvartinik 6480, Irvine, CA
“So-Cal: A Graduate Introspective”, Brea Art Gallery, Brea, CA
“WET PAINT 3”, Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA
“Paramount Reality”, Latned Atsar, Los Angeles, CA
“Camden Cornucopia”, OK BY Gallery, London, UK
“Vessel-sur-Siene”, CAMAC, Marnay-sur-Siene, France
“B’ART-GNY 05”, Libera Accademia di Belle Arti (LABA), Brescia, Italy
“B’ART-GNY 04”, Bargny, Dakar, Senegal
“Neurotic Love” (two person show), Galerie Expressions, Geneva, Switzerland
“Postal”, La Post, Chêne-Bougeries, Switzerland
“SMF” (two person show), H. Lewis Gallery, Baltimore, MD
“North Ave.” (Screening), Charles Theater, Baltimore, MD
“MICA Juried Exhibition” (Honorable Mention), Meirhoff Gallery, Baltimore, MD
“Multi-cultural Show”, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Awards / Residencies
The Awesome Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
Graduate Research Award, UC Irvine, CA
Phi Beta Kappa International Scholarship, North Hollywood, CA
Medici Foundation Artists Fellowship, Irvine, CA
Miguel Velez Fellowship, UC Irvine, CA
ProHelvetia, Zurich, Switzerland
Graduate Fellowship, UC Irvine, CA
Miguel Velez Fellowship, UC Irvine, CA
Graduate Fellowship, UC Irvine, CA
Graduate Research Award, UC Irvine, CA
Graduate Fellowship, UC Irvine, CA
Centre d’Art-Marnay Art Center, Artist in Residence, Marnay-Sur-Seine, France
Bourse Fondation Ténot, Marnay-Sur-Siene, France
Distinguished International Student Scholarship, MICA, Baltimore, MD
Presidential Scholarship, MICA, Baltimore, MD
Hill, Taylor, ”The Art Of Sailing”, Orange County Register, CA, June 13, 2013
Hill, Taylor, “Journey Is A Work of Art”, Orange County Register, Santa Ana, CA, June 12, 2013
“Set Sail With LA Awesome Foundation’s Grant Winner, Yaron Hakim”, The Awesome Foundation Blog, February 28, 2013
Dambrot, Shana Nys, “Steve Turner Contemporary’s Artist Studio Map Shows Where Artists Work in L.A.”, LA Weekly Blogs, October 4, 2011
Danilowicz, Nathan, “Yaron Michael Hakim”, ArtUS (issue 28), Los Angeles, CA, Spring 2010