The Promise Trilogy part 1: Fishtank
Title: Fish Tank
Location: Asphalt lot on the corner of Shlavim Street and Kibbutz Galuyot Road, Tel Aviv
Area: 8241 m 2
Materials: clay, concrete, paint
Curator: Omri Zin
Fish Tank, the first chapter in The Promise Trilogy, was a private project initiated by the artist, who
wished to realize an action in the public space that will leave its mark in the small Israeli sphere. Kricheli
chose to hold the project in the huge asphalt lot seen from his studio window, on the second floor of a
nearby industrial building. In this empty lot, he created a kind of magnetic field of galactic fossils
consisting large and small circular systems.
A modernist, romantic, and obsessive spirit radiates from Fish Tank. The action that stood at its core
does not resemble anything Kricheli created until then and ever since. 600 round concrete casts were
created one by one in the artist’s studio in a traditional mold casting process, without assistants,
following a four-stage operation repeated again and again: mold, cast, drying, and recycling clay. The
colossal collection of casts was divided into series: each was characterized by a particular color (green,
yellow, or light blue) and by a different ornamental pattern.
The ambitious project forced Kricheli to follow a rigid system of timetables, sequences, and rules. Some
were “imposed” on him by external elements – e.g. bureaucratic communication with the municipality,
administration, fundraising, logistics, and legal counselling. Others were “self-imposed,” meaning,
determined by the workshop that he set up in the studio, and included meticulous planning of an
effective, economic, and manual assembly line, alongside sketches and blueprints with which he devised
a formal formula for the dispersion of the casts throughout the lot.
The material, stylistic, and practical decisions in Fish Tank brought an ancient and primitive world with
the contemporary world, creating an aesthetic amalgam that fuses the authentic with the artificial,
handwork with mass production. The field of casts scattered across the lot conjured up prehistoric
fossils, column bases, mandalas, rosettes, or cream cakes. The multiplicity, repetition, and decorative
motifs formed a performative sculptural “situation” that invited the accidental passerby to wander in an
enigmatic space, one that has no definite time.
Fish Tank did not survive as a whole for long, and the project ended prematurely after a fight between
football fans escalated and due to the insistence of drivers to park their car in the lot, even though the
entrance of vehicles was not allowed. Most of the casts were damaged, and only 200 returned to the
studio in one piece. In order to find a new residence for the surviving casts, Kricheli turned to Haifa
Museum of Art with a proposal for a site-specific installation in the Museum’s inner yard. The proposal
was accepted, and they were displayed there for two years.
- Tel-Avuv municipality 2010