Renata Stein - To Mend the World

My artistic process begins as a dialogue with material. In my wanderings, I am collecting and salvaging discarded detritus of urban life, from rusty cans to fallen leaves. Fragments“speak to me” and my task as an artist is to reveal and unfold the potential of these objects and the countless untold stories they contain. My collection of fragments is made up of archival and library discards, weathered, wrinkled and torn odds and ends found on the sidewalk, flattened, rusted cans scraped off from the middle of the street. More recently, I have been foraging for plant and similar material, such as branches, grasses and leaves.

My interest in all manner of material has not only been piqued by the symbolic and metaphorical properties inherent in found objects, but also by their formal potential. While sand is associated with the passing of time, the fissures and textures it creates on a fat surface inspire visual associations and paradoxes. The joining of disparate elements creates new spiritual entities that eclipse existing realities and also allow for a variety of different and sometimes opposing interpretations.

Rejoining separated things is an act of “tikkun olam”, Hebrew for “mending the world”which, to me, is an integral aspect of creating any art form. But while my work is deeply influenced by Jewish writings and frequently makes references to various aspects of Jewish culture, I understand my work as an expression of universal alchemical processes, in which base material is transformed into spiritual entities that invite refection and contemplation.