It's only been a few weeks since Mexican artist Moris (Israel Meza Moreno) landed in Tel Aviv, for the Tiroche DeLeon Residency Program in Jaffa, but he has already begun to create large-scale installations inspired by the new setting and atmosphere. We sat down to interview him and get some insight about his artistic process and feelings about living and working in his temporary new home.
Moris tells us he is enjoying his time here, and is finding a lot in common between the Mexican and Israeli "jungles". For instance, the fact that foreigners have a misguided pre-conception of the violence and danger in these countries, a misconception created by the media.
Moris gave us a step by step insight into his creative process. First, he takes time to understand his new surroundings, to look around, and be able to reference the culture in the objects he sees around him. Then he is more tactile, he begins to suspiciously touch objects that catch his interest and explore them. According to him, specific objects make a special connection with him, they seduce him. The third step is to take the objects themselves and bring them into the studio, where they will inspire him to create his installations. Moris considers each new place he arrives at as a new contender, as if thrown into a boxing ring, that he himself must dance around, "tasting" his contender, before he takes it.
He also has a set schedule, waking up early in the morning and reading the newspaper, finding the violence in the news. So, intrinsically, the place sets the tone of his work. That being said, he strongly believes that all violence is essentially the same, and distinctions can be made only on an external level – whether it be the physical violence he is confronted by on a daily basis back in Mexico, or the political violence that Israel suffers from, a tension manifested within the city of Jaffa itself – both these forms of violence are the same at the core. The newspaper is somewhat of an absurd object, a "morbid container," that merges all types of violence – sexual, political, and physical – thus exposing the cosmetic differentiation between the violence, which is fundamentally the same. Objects themselves are not violent, like broken glass in itself is just broken glass, it is our psychological projection upon them that makes them so, turning the broken glass into a lethal weapon.
Moris describes his process as "third world" and "apocalyptic", he sees himself as an artist that makes "something with nothing", with poverty, with discarded objects. He admits his creations possess a quality of "real time-ness", soaking up context from being set in a certain way and placed within the gallery or museum, but otherwise invisible in the street. This connects to one of his projects where he buys amateur oil paintings at the flea market for very little money, cuts and tears them to create installations, instantly generating an exchange of value – the flea-marketed artwork price skyrockets as the object is transformed into a unique piece of contemporary art.
Moris' solo exhibition opened at the Residency House in Jaffa on July 28, 2016.
Interview conducted and written by Melanie Stern. To watch, click here.
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