In visual art, horror vacui (fear of empty space), is the filling of the entire surface of a space or an artwork with detail.
In 2005 Ron Amir was commissioned to make such drawing on the size of 5 x 6 meter.
Some comments on experiencing a formidable drawing / Jan van der Pol
Ron Amir has made a drawing which not only attracts attention by its absolutely formidable size; its size is actually not of prime importance. What is immediately obvious is that the content of the drawing sweeps one off one’s feet. It shows us a world where humanity has been reduced to a freshly ploughed field; and not only this touches raw nerves. It more or less sweeps away your reason for existing. But is this the intrinsic significance of the work?
A rather spontaneous preface – so a short introduction is asked for here:
Ron Amir, born in 1975 in Tel Aviv, Israel, studied art-restoration in Tivoli, Italy, followed by a visual arts (painting) study at the Academy of Rome. He moved to The Netherlands and completed his studies at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 2005 (faculty of visual arts, painting department). His examination presentation consisted of large-format drawings and a set of etchings. Under auspices of the KABK (the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague) he consequently worked for a year in a special programme making the above-mentioned drawing and another series of etchings.
The enormous drawing reveals an avalanche of images. Images of diverse origins – people, half-people, dogs and parts of dogs, disintegrating cars from which people, whole or in parts, come tumbling, the cars and the people sometimes resembling weird fish rather than anything else. Fish-innards, tables holding all sorts of items such as the small pyramid with number 11 on it, artist’s tools, flower-vases, computers, a table-lamp, an owl, a crucifix – all of these joined by planks and ladders as well as amazing and flotsam-like constructions, between and wherein all this takes place, with or without flowerbeds, etc., etc. And in amongst it all, people, individuals, attempt to stay on their feet and are united by a long table. These people display a certain solemnity and dignity and form, as it were, an island of hope in an environment where it is hard to breathe and where not a beam of light can be discerned; subsequently organized in such a way that all these elements achieve a particularly compact structure resulting in an unusual totality of expression.
The sensation of being immersed in this insanity is not immediately a pleasant one as it is no Arcadian world which is presented here; on the contrary, it is more like a Dantesque hell.
A hell which brings to mind the paintings and prints by Pieter Breugel the elder – such as the “Dulle Griet” in Museum Mayer van de Bergh in Antwerp, or “Triumph of the dead” in the Prado.
The world sketched by Ron Amir is our world, no doubt about that. It is the history of the 20th century which echoes through in innumerable events and in the destinies of hundreds of millions of people. The rumbling and echoing continues. The events and atrocities which took place originated for the main part in our own minds and, consequently, once again, lead to the circumstances to be seen and read on television, in newspapers and magazines today. I see Ron Amir’s work as set against this context.
But, the great attention paid to the total discourse which this work presents, as well as the ingenuity in the structure of the composition, definitely does bring about a feeling of consolation in the beholder. The meticulous manner in which it has been carried out becomes a symbol for the homage to humanity – however precarious this existence may be or be felt. And with that and through that, this work, with its ominous emanation , is indisputably a contribution to the series of questions concerning the quality of our existence, questions that humanity must ask itself – without raising a moralistic finger or making propaganda for a particular political idea. This is no mean achievement.