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SMMoA presents Moshe Ninio Rainbow: Rug

January 17 - April 18, 2015

Release Date: October 28, 2014

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 17
Exhibition Walkthrough, 3–4 pm

SANTA MONICA, CA—The Santa Monica Museum of Art presents Moshe Ninio Rainbow: Rug, the first solo presentation on the West Coast of a distinguished Israeli artist whose oeuvre—comprised of drawings, photographs, and video—offers poignant insights into insistent universal themes. The exhibition features one of Ninio’s iconic works titled Rainbow Rug, a hologram of a classic antique Turkish rug. The rug is revelatory in many ways; as a hologram, the image has a magical quality of moving in and out of the perceptual field. As a photographic image of a handmade object, it embodies the timeless beauty of craftsmanship and historical resonance. Rainbow: Rug will be on view in SMMoA’s Project Room 1 through April 26, 2015.

Ninio uses holography as an optical device to directly engage the viewer with the artwork and the site itself. Because of the construction of Rainbow Rug, there is only one angle in the installation where the image is fully visible and spectators must seek out this particular point in space. Articulated by art critic Tal Sterngast, “The image is hence ‘experienced’ … it is both sorcerous and cheap, hoaxish and hypnotizing. The floor hologram functions as a simulation of an optical threshold.”

The image of this artifact—a traditional Turkish rug inscribed with the symbols and techniques of a particular nomadic tribe—plays with the elusive nature of photographic and historical representation. Both the rug and the hologram of the rug defy total comprehension; they are submerged in partial darkness with the viewer, and require navigation and careful observation to produce revelation.

Rainbow: Rug is organized by Elsa Longhauser, Executive Director of the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Moshe Ninio was born in 1953 in Tel Aviv, Israel and lives and works in both Tel Aviv and Paris. His work has been shown in group exhibitions at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv; the Petah Tikva Museum of Art; Haifa Museum of Art; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; and the International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Jerusalem. He has had solo exhibitions at Galerie Chantal Crousel; Mary Faouzi Gallery, Jaffa; and The Israel Museum. Ninio has also worked as a guest curator at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by Shulamit Nazarian and the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and Anonymous. Additional funding has been provided by the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and SMMoA's Ambassadors Circle.

Image caption: Moshe Ninio, Rainbow: Rug, 1996–2000, Rainbow type hologram film, aluminum, mirror, and glass, 2 x 71 x 22 inches, Courtesy of Galerie Chantal Crousel

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For further information about the exhibition or to schedule interviews, please contact Lynda Dorf, 424.645.4620 or