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*View of “Absalon,” 2011.

Absalon

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

*View of “Absalon,” 2011.

It’s easy to misinterpret Absalon’s work: as a Minimalist pastiche, for example, or a Bauhaus homage, a faux-utopian solution to the problems of modern living. But KW’s retrospective of his output dismissed such clunky art-historical assumptions, concentrating instead on the artist’s deep, urgent need to find a way of both participating in society and sheltering from it. Absalon—born in Ashdod, Israel, and called Meir Eshel until he adopted his pseudonym in 1987—is known primarily for his “Cellules.” These small structures—stripped of all detail, rendered stark white inside and out, and based on Absalon’s own bodily dimensions—are living units big enough for one, and one alone. While early examples such as Cellule No. 5, 1991, seem ultimately like hypothetical dwellings, his later “Cellules No. 1–6 (Prototypes),” 1992, are 1:1 models for buildings that the

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