Noel Jabbour is a Palestinian artist photographer born 1970 in Nazareth. She studied photography in Jerusalem and is based in Berlin, Germany. For more than a decade and a half, she has been placing the marginal at centre stage in her artistic work. Her photographs consistently expose a human dimension, an angle of vision, or a profound insight, which are usually unseen or ignored. In this, she performs one of art’s important tasks: rendering visible what is otherwise invisible. Jabbour’s art-making praxis has a transformative dimension as well: it expands our range of vision and shows us things that are important to see. Her work derives its power from a deliberate affinity with documentary photography and is represented in major public and private collections including the Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône; Zabludowicz Collection, London; Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. She is also the recipient of several major scholarships, prizes and residencies from the Berlin Senate, the Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes and the A.M. Qattan Foundation.
“I hope these images will make people think about what it’s like to observe these laws.” Ronnen Safdie
The Israeli-American artist Michal Ronnen Safdie, as evidenced on her website, has a diverse body of work: from scenes of vapor trails across a sky, to refugees in Darfur, to portraits of trees, to life in Israel. Her current show, “Sunday Tuesday Thursday”, on exhibit at the Andrea Meislin Gallery here in New York offers a fascinating view into a world most of us know little about it, much less have seen. The series takes its title from the three days of the week that Orthodox Jewish women are allowed, sans men, to go to this beach just north of Tel Aviv, Israel.
Ronnen Safdie’s images, while seemingly innocuous, are actually potent explorations/challenges to women’s role in contemporary Israeli society. Looking at these women, burdened as they are by religious constraints, is intriguing and something new to behold. It is this power to reveal and to raise questions, that give the photographs their strength. —Lane Nevares
(Installation shot from Barry Frydlender’s “Place and Time” @ MoMA, 2007)
Reblog of the Day:
Peter Galassi: 30 Years at the MoMA
Sabrina Moura: In 2011, a number of exhibitions, forums and symposiums discussed the future of photography. The necessity of understanding the consequences of the digitalization of the medium, its new ways of being shared and distributed, seems to be an urgency to contemporary photographers, critics and curators. How do you see this need to anticipate the future of photography?
Peter Galassi: I didn’t see From Here On, but I wish I had. That’s a bunch of very alert and clever people, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed and learned from the show. But of course an exhibition can’t show the future. It can only display works that already exist, and museums deal with the past, even if it’s only last week. My conviction is that, if you want to influence the future of the arts, you need to be an artist.
As for digital technologies, it’s been obvious for some time that they’re transforming nearly every aspect of our lives, photography is the least of it. Ease and speed of transmission, changing mechanisms of distribution and sharing, no doubt all of that is very important. But it isn’t unique to photography.
I also think that we may still be at the beginning of that transformation, and I suspect that the only ones who will be truly wrong in their predictions are the ones who are certain that they’re right. Recently I got so tired of hearing how new technologies have destroyed photography’s grasp of reality that I put together a lecture about some of the many ways that, on the contrary, digital tools have improved and extended the medium’s ability to explore and engage the world, with examples of work by artists as diverse as Jeff Wall, Richard Benson, Andreas Gursky, Barry Frydlender, and Paul Graham.
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Today in California, the ban on same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court. The news reminded us of “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” the current exhibition up at the Brooklyn Museum. The show, on view through February 12th, explores the role of sexual identity in modern art through a variety of media, including photography. For more selection of photographs, along with captions from the exhibition, visit our Photo Booth blog: http://nyr.kr/AgOCAM
Steve Daly, Alley, London, 2010, Archival Pigment Print.
ARTIST HIGHLIGHT :: STEVE DALY
“… they know they have lost their way… they will stay where they are, never moving, until the last breath of air is out of their bodies, and indeed they will remain in the place where they came to grief even after death, held fast by tiny claws that stiffened in their last agony, until a draft of air detaches them and blows them into a dusty corner.”
W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz
Steve Daly sent to me the following description of his photographs:
I found a moth. Its wings frayed at the edges. Its colors were unusual, or maybe not (I’m not an expert on these things), but I had the sense that it was something I hadn’t seen before. Usually moths are monochrome, almost colorless. They dance on the periphery and then they disappear. Even when the occasional carcass, like this one, lands in a dusty corner, it remains an exception. Where do the others, the ones that pass through and aren’t entombed in an apartment, or the ones that never make the mistake of coming inside, go to die? I thought it might turn to dust as soon as I touched it. But it didn’t - it was dead, rotting but solid. I wondered what it would look like as a photograph. Photography gives the dead life.
Then I found an alley. I was looking for a vortex, a landscape without sky. That peculiar feeling only a huge metropolis can give you, the vertiginous in-between jamming the sensation of space. It pulls objects to the surface of the picture plane and deprives you of perspective. Later, I realized that the colors in the alley - a blue glass-and-steel building, brown brick buildings and an orange tiger-stripe paint job - were the same colors as the moth. Perhaps it was the recognition of the external by the internal. The landscape is the inverse of the moth. It’s as if the moth exploded. Or the landscape could have been folded into the moth, like origami.
No document gives greater insight into how a photographer shoots and edits than a contact sheet—the direct print, from a roll or negatives, where a film photographer often first sees her work, grease pencil in hand, and marks her best frames. A new book from Thames & Hudson collects a hundred and thirty-nine notable contact sheets made by Magnum photographers, from the nineteen-thirties to the present, some of which are currently on view at the International Center of Photography.
Jose Ferreira, Contact Prints from Wandering Thomas, 2011, 8 x 10 inches
ARTIST HIGHLIGHT :: JOSE FERREIRA
In Wandering Thomas, Jose Ferreira explores the notion of doubt embodied as a state between belief and disbelief. Through a series of photographs, ink drawings, and prints, he emphasizes a state of reality in which the mind remains suspended between two contradictory propositions, unable to assent to either. Wandering Thomas refers to Caravaggio’s painting, The Incredulity of Saint Thomas (c.1602), where Saint Thomas is depicted as probing the wound of Christ in order to be convinced of his resurrection. Doubt is a common form of discord, with the rational part of one’s thought involved in weighing evidence, without which belief has no real substance. Søren Kierkegaard suggested that, for one to truly possess belief, one would also require a questioning of those beliefs.
This concept is extended metaphorically in the works to domestic and urban spaces. These spaces can harbor a deep symbolic resonance of being in transition, of remaining constantly in-between and potentially unstable, confusing our sense of time and place. By inhabiting these spaces, the artist seeks ways to navigate the abstract, to understand subjectivity and space experientially. The work presents the viewer with tactile, yet evanescent phenomena. Similarly, a series of images of an unmade bed imply a state of restless ambiguity. The used sheets are reminiscent of long periods spent in convalescence, during which the body itself is unreliable.
A photograph of an urban park mimics the idealized landscape, a signifier of stability, but its shape can change momentarily by the odd placement of an object, a strange encounter, and the essential picture of nature itself is interrupted. We are made aware that “reality” is subjective; a negotiated series of decisions that construct experience. Charles Baudelaire wrote in his poem “Correspondences,” that passing through nature was passing through a “forest of signs.” What kind of semiotic resonance does the manufactured landscape then hold?
In the series Revisions, Gwynne Johnson accentuates the disappointments and frustrations of memory through an accumulation of photographs of men who resemble her deceased father. Photographed from behind, these anonymous figures function as vaguely descriptive armatures upon which to perform acts of construction. The inevitable insufficiency of each photograph to close the gap between the depicted form and the absent figure drives the repetition of image making. In this pursuit of images, memories are replaced in quick succession as each father is erased by its successor, ultimately widening the rift.
The photographs are made at a race track, during the brief period that rational time is suspended, between the starting bell and the photo finish. While everyone is transfixed at the rail, Gwynne wagers on the wagerers with a camera.
We are a gallery that features a strong schedule of exhibitions by important emerging and established artists, interspersed and strengthened by history-based photography exhibitions about or from Israel.