Rainbow: Rug is the first solo West Coast presentation of Israeli artist Moshe Ninio (b. 1953) whose oeuvre—comprised of drawings, photographs, and video—offers poignant insights into insistent universal themes. The exhibition features one of Ninio’s iconic works titled Rainbow: Rug, a hologram of a partly-folded Middle Eastern carpet. The rug is revelatory in many ways; as a hologram, the image has a magical quality of moving in and out of the perceptual field. As a photographic image of a handmade object, it embodies the timeless beauty of craftsmanship and historical resonance.
Ninio uses holography as an optical device to directly engage the viewer with the artwork and the site itself. Because of the construction of Rainbow: Rug, there is only one angle in the installation where the image is fully visible and spectators must seek out this particular point in space. Articulated by art critic Tal Sterngast, “The image is hence ‘experienced’ … it is both sorcerous and cheap, hoaxish and hypnotizing. The floor hologram functions as a simulation of an optical threshold.” The image of this artifact—a traditional Turkish rug inscribed with the symbols and techniques of a particular nomadic tribe—plays with the elusive nature of photographic and historical representation. Both the rug and the hologram of the rug defy total comprehension; they are submerged in partial darkness with the viewer, and require navigation and careful observation to produce revelation.
Moshe Ninio: Rainbow: Rug is organized by Elsa Longhauser, Executive Director, Santa Monica Museum of Art.
Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by Shulamit Nazarian and the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and Adam Gunther. Additional funding has been provided by the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and SMMoA’s Ambassadors Circle.