Elana Herzog

by Brenda Coultas


Elana Herzog, partial view of Scratch the Surface, 2013, wood and wood composite, fabric, metal staples, dimensions variable. Photo by Alan Wiener.

The making and tearing away of wholes. Dissolving the made or not yet made, we find ourselves in this place, a loft in the old-school fashion. 

                                         To hollow out might be a Herzog-ism or Herzog-ist.

                                                                           In the hollow might flow fabric or other products from
                                                                            the industrial and pre-industrial world. 

                                                                                                 A horizon, she likes it to seem as if it is about to disappear.
                                                                                                  She grows apples. Small red fruits.

                                                                           Duchamp’s nude walks inside a freestanding sculpture
                                                                            composed of scraps of wood. 

                                          Making a window on the page. Hanging everything
                                          but not to be pedagogical. A hollow core and there
                                          she stores marbles or odd heirloom apples, the kind of
                                          apple that rots into a grandmotherly face. 

 

Tons of chenille equal in weight to the tears of 1950s
domestic bliss. 

 

                                         A window is the way in. She considers the lengths that
                                          people throughout history have gone to make textiles
                                          while noting that history that once seemed far is now
                                          close.

                                                                           It’s in what is not told; the narrative recedes or evapo
                                                                           -rates under scrutiny. The line or window into an event,
                                                                           a tale.... What is suggested by these threads? 

                                         Cutaways, from which she made a tree, resembled one
                                          in its lack of leaves, bark, and roots. She built a wall to
                                          hold the threads firmly, thousands of staples closing
                                          a wound, or hundreds of teeth to hold a suggestion.

 

She cut a window out of the wall, not knowing what
the view from her space might be. Strands of camel
hair fell into coppery puffs. She cut a window into the
wool, not knowing what she might be letting out or
in. Box cutter slices through centuries of Iranian time
as knots hold the pattern in place. Opening the space,
in a wall or page or carpet, to catch a glimpse of what
is receding in waves. A solid vision might emerge:
once she saw a couch draped in carpets for the un-
spooling of dreams; it appeared from across an ocean.
The image traveled over water, gathering in collected
threads, to surface on the street beside a Bushwick
smokestack.

—Brenda Coultas is the author of the poetry collection The Tatters, forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press in January. 


Elana Herzog, partial view of Seams at Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO, 2009, textile and metal staples in gallery wall. Photo by Kevin Sizemore.

 


Elana Herzog, partial view of Return of the Repressed, 2012, carpets, wood and composite materials, fabric, metal staples, dimensions variable. Images courtesy of the artist

Tags:
Poetry
Installation art
BOMB 126
Winter 2014
The cover of BOMB 126
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