Inspired by historical models that gathered artists to ask essential questions about culture, society and individuals, the exhibition explores the complexities of Israel and the West Bank as place and metaphor, in the works of 12 photographers.
The DOX Centre for Contemporary Art is launching the world premiere of THIS PLACE, an international touring exhibition. This unprecedented global cultural project explores the complexities of Israel and the West Bank as place and metaphor – its history, its geography, its inhabitants, its daily life, and the resonance it has for people around the world. THIS PLACE features work from internationally acclaimed photographers such as Josef Koudelka, Frédéric Brenner, Thomas Struth, Fazal Sheikh, and Jeff Wall.
Inspired by historical models that gathered artists to ask essential questions about culture, society and individuals, such as the Mission Héliographique in nineteenth-century France and the US Farm Security Administration’s photography programme, Frédéric Brenner first conceived the idea for the project in 2006. After seeking the advice of a group of international curators, he invited eleven acclaimed photographers to join him in exploring Israel and the West Bank as both place and metaphor.
The twelve photographers participating in THIS PLACE are Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, Nick Waplington, and Frédéric Brenner himself. Together, this group represents the most acclaimed group of photographers to ever turn their attention to Israel and the West Bank. Each photographer spent approximately six months in residence, pursuing his or her own artistic interests. Through these residencies (between the years 2009 and 2013), thousands of original art works were created, and the traveling exhibition will feature a selection of over 500 photographs.
”The images included in THIS PLACE combine to create not a single, monolithic vision, but rather a diverse and fragmented portrait, alive with all the rifts and paradoxes of this important and highly contested place,“ explained Frédéric Brenner.
The exhibition’s curator, Charlotte Cotton, an internationally recognized curator and former head of the photography department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), added:
”Each artist has created a profound and personal narration of Israel and the West Bank that, collectively, act as a series of guides, leading the viewer into a deeper identification with the realities of its heavily cast contemporary situation.”
THIS PLACE is also publishing thirteen books: a comprehensive exhibition catalogue, and individual monographs by each participating artist. The monographs by F. Brenner (An Archeology of Fear and Desire), S. Shore (From Galilee to the Negev), R. Solomon (Them), N. Waplington (Settlement), M. Kollar (Field Trip) and J. Koudelka (Wall) have already been published; the remaining books will appear in the fall of 2014.
Exhibition curator: Charlotte Cotton
Frederic Brenner explores Israel as a place of radical otherness, where longing, belonging and exclusion constantly permeate through lived experience. His meticulous research is visualised as individual and societal moments that pinpoint the condition of contemporary Israel.
Wendy Ewald initiated 14 participatory photography projects in Israel and the West Bank with community groups including schools, a women’s group, market stall owners and high-tech workers. Her work conveys a range of voices and the distinct character of each community.
Martin Kollar captures contradictions and incongruities that visualise the threat of impending violence embedded in the routine normalcy of everyday life in Israel. His work features a series of photographs rich with subtle drama and visual strangeness.
Josef Koudelka makes the wall of separation the central character of his epic body of photographic work. His graphic, panoramic photographs convey the sense of this archaic landscape, the impact of the wall upon it and the painful reality of the wall’s dividing route.
Jungjin Lee immerses the viewer in the weighty layers of history that she experienced in the landscapes of Israel. Lee’s hand-made prints trace the embedded sadness and poignancy of the many abandoned and de-humanised places that she encountered.
Gilles Peress makes an astute observation of the psychological ‘temperature’ of Israel and the West Bank. His photographs, taken on the streets, represent their inhabitants as embodiments of the extremities of perspectives that shape Israel.
Fazal Sheikh will show a grid of 48 aerial photographs, each taken from above the traces of disappeared Bedouin villages, their size and location practically invisible from ground level. He narrates a powerful story about a community, their land and their exclusion.
Stephen Shore will present a selection of color works (captured with his signature 8”x10” negative camera) that offer clear and astutely observed facets of contemporary Israel and visual manifestations of its divisions and histories.
Rosalind Solomon creates a compassionate and personal evocation of Israel’s ethnic diversity through her portraits and generates a powerful aura of the relationships and lives that she encountered on her journeys through Israel.
Thomas Struth creates substantial, individuated experiences of Israel with his large scale color photographs. The selection of works for this exhibition includes landscapes, cityscapes, industrial and religious architectural interiors and a family portrait.
Jeff Wall depicts Bedouin olive pickers sleeping outdoors on a farm in the Negev Desert in the south of Israel in a large-scale photograph. As the sun rises over the farm and flushes the sky, the prison that sits on the hill behind the farm emanates its cold presence.
Nick Waplington created an archive of over 1,300 photographs that represent the people and sites of Jewish settlements on the West Bank. These well-researched and faithful depictions combine landscapes and portrait imagery to create a detailed insight into this practice.
The THIS PLACE international touring exhibition will be open to the public at the DOX Centre until 2 March 2015, and will then travel to Israel and the United States.
The exhibition’s attendant programme will include artist talks, photographic workshops, discussions for professionals and the general public, guided tours of the exhibition, etc. On Saturday 25 October 2014, three special round table discussions entitled 12 PERSPECTIVES will take place with all twelve artists. The all-day programme will be topped off by a guided tour of the exhibition. A registration form is available at http://12perspectives.dox.cz/.
Image: Thomas Struth, Mount Bental, Golan Heights, 2011 © Thomas Struth
Michaela Šilpochová Phone: +420 295 568 113 +420 774 222 355 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
DOX Centre for Contemporary Art
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