The Promise Trilogy part 2: The William Ashbless Project
Title: The William Ashbless Project
Location: Yafo 23 Gallery, Jerusalem
Area: 400 m 2
Materials: wood, plywood, clay, hot glue
Accompanying curators: Roy Brand, Sagit Mezamer, Yael Ruhman
The second chapter in The Promise Trilogy, The William Ashbless Project, is a site and time specific
sculptural installation, created especially for the space of the academic gallery. The sculptural elements
were designed in keeping with the proportions of the space and were even assembled in it, creating an
almost religious harmony between the sculpture and the space, the weight of the wood (the primary
raw material of the piece) and the lightness of the white space.
Four weeks were allocated for the project, two of which were devoted to the installation, which was
carried out in collaboration with students from Bezalel Fine Arts department as part of an artist master
class with Kricheli. The sculptural elements were built in advance in the studio, and with the addition of
large wood beams that were bent on site, all the parts of the installation coalesced into one
The title, The William Ashbless Project, is a reference to a fictional character created by the writers
James Blaylock and Tim Powers. In Powers’s book, The Anubis Gates (1983) the protagonist embarks on
a time travel in the footsteps of the poet William Ashbless, only to discover that he himself is Ashbless
and that the poems he had read in school were never written. Questions surrounding identity, faith, and
movement backwards and forwards in time resonate in Ashbless’s story as well as in the fragmentary
language of the sculptural environment, whose deciphering remains ambiguous.
The layout of The William Ashbless Project was derived from the mapping and analyzes the display
space. Kricheli identified a recurring architectural pattern of threes, which he recreated in the objects,
by setting “focal points” that attracted sculptural mass around them, and in the entire composition of
the installation. Parameters like movement in the space, natural light, height, and sound, were also
factored into the installation. Kricheli approached the installation like choreography that plays with
movement and stillness. The scale of the objects preserved the proportions of the space, while the
expansion of shapes, material, and weight across the gallery’s floor created a panoramic landscape
based on equilibrium and tension between objects that reach towards the floor and vertical objects.
Arches, curved beams, diagonals, wheels, rails, crosses, and a German shepherd – these are just a
couple of the motifs that formulated a private mythological language, masterfully stringing together
craft and religious ritual, abstract geometry and figurative idealism.
With the conclusion of the project and its dismantling, the monumental installation was reduced into a
pile of wood beams and a handful of objects. The fragments of Ashbless’s fictional and surreal
“personality” drifted between different sculptural stops, assuming a different identity as they joined to
create new sculptures. This is the essence of the poetic and practical aspect of Kricheli’s sculpture – the
past resonates through the future while the fragments of the past are imbued by the present.
- Yaffo23 art site, Jerusalem, Israel 2011