Monday, May 11, 2015

Yoav Friedländer

Yoav Friedländer's grandfather, Kurt, fled Austria immediately to Israel after the Kristallnacht ("Crystal Night") and was a British Brigades soldier during WWII and later served in the Israeli Army. Yoav grew up in the valleys of the Judean Desert between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. He is native to Israel but was uprooted from his past. After High School he joined the Israeli army for a mandatory service of 3 years. He started as a paratrooper, and became the fourth generation of army soldiers. Yoav received his B.A in Photography from Hadassah College Jerusalem (2011), and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts.

Artist Statement: A Form of View 

I grew up in the valleys of the Judean Desert between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. My work presents the chaotic perception of an “Americanized Israeli”; composed of mediated American culture, desert landscapes, and war, which became integral throughout my life. I mix scale models with straight photographs, both of Israel and the US, and form a conjunction between two different cultures and sets of geographical locations. The work is based on the recognition that our world is informed by images, as photographs represent and replace experiences & memories. 

Various aspects of our reality, are being described by photographs and have never been experienced by us in person. Photographs have set the expectations for things we might experience; at times we find ourselves considering what is real to be different from how it should be according to its own image.

Scale models I build accompany the landscapes I photograph. They are recreations of places I don’t have physical access to: memories, and images of places and spaces that I saw through photographs. I make them, and photograph them with the intent that they will echo the realism of the original and bare the illusion of the photograph. The models act much like photographs, they share an indexical relation to the original. Images refer to the reality they record and my models refer to the images that represent reality. Both enable external observation of a reality’s-proxy.

  I am relying on preexisting images when photographing the landscape, as I am aware that I cannot reverse the influence of those images on my vision of the landscape. I found myself photographing the landscapes of both Israel and the U.S. from the same stand point: at the margins of the road. While in Israel I have adapted to the war torn restricted access to the land, in the U.S. I am bound to the same position only due to the privatization of the land as property.

Perhaps we’ve changed places and now we look at our world through the perspective of the camera. Maybe we haven’t just mixed the original and the copy, perhaps we’ve swapped between them. It seems that ever since the invention of the photograph, reality has become augmented by its own image.

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