Feinberg Projects is pleased to present Yoav Horesh’s first solo show in Israel since his return to Tel Aviv, after more than 16 years of living abroad. The exhibition "InSite" includes works from the past five years that were photographed in Asia, Europe and Australia.
Horesh traces the way people place themselves in a public setting vis-à-vis their neighbors, with regard to the space itself, and relative to the photographer's point of view. The emphasis passes from the importance of the place usually provided by the visitor to that site, to the relationship between all the variables, including the photographer, in whose place the observer will come later. Some of the interactions are not only physical, but rather cultural and conceptual. At times, people are found in a space where 'cultural' is foreign to them, and that gap or connection between person and place Horesh captures through the lens of his camera.
Globalization has on some level made culture softer and more easily transferred; in this spirit the connection between East and West, past to present, foreign to familiar exists in many of these works. Horesh seeks to examine the relations between people and history and between people and place. Cultures borrow characteristics from other cultures, although sometimes it is an attempt by one religion or an idea to dominate. For example, in the picture Federation Square, Melbourne the presence of the Pope on the television screen defines the expanse in the photograph. The works describe the relation between those cultures, between the familiar and the alien. They map out the elements that catch us by surprise, the expected that suddenly becomes alien. For example, we would expect that children in Hong Kong to be photographed in a stereotypical area familiar to them, and it's less expected that they would stand next to icebergs and penguins. In many photographs a sort of "scenery", man-made painting or construction appears, which thanks to the photographer's decisions becomes metaphorical. Most of the photographs were shot in cloudy weather, appearing as if cut out and pasted onto the surface of the picture. In this way, the sense and understanding of the space is split for the observer – people appear two dimensional in a three-dimensional space.
Horesh's photos constitute a sort of stained-glass that enables viewing someone and turning him into an actor as part of the space and public expanse. Horesh is a photographer who is present in the field, the size of the camera he works with and the relatively long time it takes him "to arrange the picture" attract some people's attention, and they direct their gaze at the photographer or the observer.
In the view of philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, the sole existence of the Self is found in relation to things, the Self is pure awareness of things. The Self negates them, defining them for the sake of a particular purpose (for example, peeking through the lock), and by this means defines the Self, but exclusively vis-à-vis these things. What is unique about the phenomenon of the Other, argues Sartre, is that he sees me. This view, more than any type of conception, constitutes for Sartre the archetype of negation: he arranges distances between different objects, sets hierarchies, separating different parts of the experience. To look means to negate, to turn into an object. Therefore, the Other, by virtue of his look, is the only other thing besides myself likely to negate me, and paradoxically to give me a bit of experience, to turn me into an essence in the world. By virtue of the Other, says Sartre, I have an exterior, I have nature, and therefore I also have freedom.
As a photographer, Horesh points to the idea that a given space changes when visitors enter it or use it. The architectural element is reconstructed in the photograph. That same space or structure, which is usually not natural, is constructed to fulfil its potential mission, and "awaits" those visitors who will imbue it with life and change its "DNA". The place also changes its visitors, and their activities are dictated to a certain extent by the place itself.
Photography plays a central role in the experience of the tourist and visitor in the place. Sometimes, tourists photograph more than they experience, their activity is more to photograph than to look properly. They will spend more time looking at what they photographed than observing the scenery or the place itself. Some tourists are even seen in the picture taking photos, as appropriating part of the scenery using indirect means. Thus, they perpetuate the victory of technology and its glorification. They need the transfer via a screen that masks the experience. The camera becomes a conduit for images.
Horesh, who is aware of this function, highlights it and relates to it seriously. Horesh himself is also a tourist, and as such he takes a step backwards and observes not only the space itself, but also the people planted within. But by contrast with them, he photographs in a traditional way, using large-format cameras, tripod and film. He has to design the frame for himself, and he can't take two pictures sequentially. Development of the negative and printing it are central to his work as an artist. The time that elapses between burning the image onto the light- sensitive material and printing it, is the time in which memory awakens. During this distancing from the scene, like a painter who take two steps back from his work, several weeks until the actual printing, he 'summons up the ghost' and revives the embodiment of the image in material. He will sit and recharge it with the meanings concentrated within in, relative to his awareness and his memory as a tourist-photographer.
"The Other creates a world that competes with mine," writes Sartre, "but only in this way do I become aware of my world, of my possibilities for which I must now struggle. The original meaning of Being for the Other is thus conflict."
Horesh presents those "competing worlds", worlds of the Other, and thereby opens up the array of possibilities of our abilities as observers, to provide meaning for the experience of space and place, for the experience of culture, of alienation and of familiarity.
Text by Yham Hameiri, April 2014
Born in Jerusalem Israel, Yoav Horesh has exhibited internationally in galleries and museums including in Germany, Italy, Israel, the United States, Hong Kong, Myanmar and also with Amnesty International. Yoav’s work was featured, written on and published in magazines, art journals and websites across three continents and he has given public lectures/artists talks in art schools, universities and galleries in The United States and Europe.
Yoav’s work is included in many private and public collections including The Addison Gallery for American Art and The Museum of New Art in Michigan. Horesh has received various awards, commissions and grants including the Agnes Martin Award, The Projektraum-Bahnhof 25 residency award and the Mortimer Frank Grant.
Since completing his MFA from Columbia University in 2005, Yoav has been teaching and photographing in the United States, Hong Kong, Europe, and in Israel.
Wednesday -Thursday from 12pm to 6pm
Friday from 11am to 2pm
Saturday from 11am to 1pm or by appointment