Hillel Roman’s ‘Universal’ integrates his videos, sculptures, and drawings in the elaboration of a volume which seeks to deconstruct as much as it does to enchant. The edition includes one text written by the poet Merhav Yehoron – which is laid out throughout the book, serving as a guide through which to interpret the artists works.
Roman’s drawings are created by a process of repeated drawing and erasure which exploits the blank paper as a source of light, endowing it with a near sculptural presence. This technique resurrects the flat photographic sources he uses, often inspired by utopian narratives, serving and betraying them simultaneously. His sculptural and video work probes the tensions raised by our bipolar conception of the cosmos as a unity and as an ever-expanding multitude. He explores manual labor as a reflection of our corporal experience in a technological world which is becoming gradually more virtual but not necessarily more spiritual.
By re-presenting a variety of internet-sourced utopian images, his work calls into question popular mythologies while simultaneously celebrating how the Internet inverts hierarchies of knowledge, changing how information is exchanged, and unseating the dominance of experts within the epistemological fields of knowledge. In ‘Observatory’ first shown at The Herzilya Biennale, and prominently featured int he book, the artist constructed a star gazing facility which he built from plans taken from the internet. The drawings, which include a 70’s NASA space colony proposal, and an old dairy poster showing a collection of products that appears as a blurry ghost town stripped off of any brand identity, are similarly mined from the web. In each case, the images are purified and democratized through the charcoal, returning the digital into ‘matter’, and echoing promises or desires for a better future alongside the failure of these utopias to materialize.