Untitled (I Love You)
Uri Aran ( Israeli, 1977 )
In his drawings and videos, Uri Aran often plays with the human feelings that we project onto animals. Untitled (I Love You) captures a mundane scene of the artist rummaging through a shoebox full of aquatic toy animals. As the artist selects the first toy from the box, a whale shark figurine is presented to the camera and observed from all angles. The artist lovingly caresses the toy, and after a thorough visual assessment professes “I love you” emphatically to the whale figurine. This seemingly absurd exercise is repeated several times with different toys. With each iteration, the artist treats the figurines with varying degrees of enthusiasm, care, and respect. In so doing, he creates an arbitrary hierarchy among the animals that mirrors how we as human beings ascribe equally arbitrary values to our relationships with other people, pets, and possessions through language.
- Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018, 203.
Check out an extended essay discussing the relationship between Aran's work and the legacy of Belgian conceptual artist Marcel Broodthaers.