Commonwealth and Council

Thirst Trap

Oren Pinhassi


Commonwealth and Council presents Thirst Trap, Oren Pinhassi’s first solo exhibition with the space. Pinhassi’s new sculptures flash-freeze bodies of sand in plastic motion—instants coalescing in momentary potentials of form, rendered paradoxically permanent: a fluid and pervasive mass that assumes the shape of its container just as easily as it eludes grasp, sieving through one’s fingers only to lodge in seemingly every possible orifice, cleft, or rupture. Elongated body-forms populate the space just as easily construed as columns, fountains, shelters. Shower curtain rings dangle like earrings, suspended between function and ornament. 

Potential for cross-contamination resides in their porous makeup. As the illusion of solid, discrete form dissolves into granular interspersion, so too does any manichean sense of observer and object, inside and out, self and other—effecting a hybrid substance, a post-binary entity. Provoked by this material disquiet, precarious conditions of desire emerge, along with all attendant risks: the titular thirst trap, flirting with transgression: a wink and a nudge to bypass the algorithmic censor, a glory hole carved into a stately wall, a depleted fountain. Some figures appear duly armored with plastic shower curtains, at once a kind of winking modesty and flimsy prophylaxis; others offer some shelter (even if just a modicum) with mushroom-cap heads or brittle umbrella canopies. One’s expectation of moisture is subverted and instead made witness to a parched subjectivity that both pleads for and shies away from a corrosive wetness—flirting with the death drive or petite mort. Pigeon spikes crown other corpuses in a similarly anxious, futile gesture of warding rooted in a shifting, unsteady ground. In lieu of a conventional base or pedestal, the sculptures cling to rocks with rounded talons, perched on the sole semblance of solidity within a landscape of bodily architecture and architectural bodies. 

Amongst a communion-cum-landscape of such mingled hallucinations and desires—as if all possible bodies were but figments among wandering dunes—what unfixed potentials await? 

Oren Pinhassi (b. 1985, lives and works in New York) received an MFA from Yale in 2014 and B.Ed.F.A. in 2011 from Beit-Berl College, Hamidrasha School of Art. Selected solo exhibitions have been held at Helena Anrather, New York (2021); Edel Assanti, London (2020, 2018); St. Cyprian, London (2020); Castello di San Basilio, Basilicata, Italy (2019); Palazzo Monti, Brescia, Italy (2019); 56 Henry, Philadelphia (2018); Skibum MacArthur, Los Angeles (2018); Ribot Gallery, Milan (2017); Petach-Tikva Museum of Art, Israel (2017); and Tempo Rubato Gallery, New York (2016). Selected group exhibitions have been held at Kölnischer Kunstverein, Germany (2021); Boers-Li Gallery, New York (2019); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Lissone, Italy (2019); Tina Kim Gallery, New York (2019); David Zwirner Gallery, New York (2018); Thierry Goldberg, New York (2018); and Galerie Eva Meyer, Paris (2017). Pinhassi has been awarded residencies at Castello di San Basilio, Basilicata, Italy (2019); Palazzo Monti, Brescia, Italy (2019); Via Farini, Milan, Italy (2017); Outset Contemporary Art Fund, Tel Aviv (2017); Storm King, New York (2016); and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ME (2014); and is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2019).