PDN Photo of the Day

A Splintered Portrait of Israel and the West Bank

This Place is an art project that explores Israel and the West Bank through the eyes of 12 celebrated photographers: Frédéric Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, and Nick Waplington.

Their photographs –– which have been compiled in a book (Hatje Cantz, 2019) and exhibition –– question the history, borderlines, and paradoxes of Israel, Palestine and the inhabitants of the region.

Initiated by Brenner in 2005, the goal of This Place was to add “new, artistic motifs to the familiar picture” of Israel and the West Bank typically published in the news, states Hatje Cantz in the press release. Between 2009 and 2012, he and the other photographers visited the region several times to complete the project.

Marked by the photographers’ differing visual vocabularies, nationalities, and cultural backgrounds, the works address themes of identity, home, conflict, and topography. The picture that emerges is not a single, monolithic vision, but rather a diverse and splintered portrait. 

“I wanted to gather a large spectrum of artists whose origins, passions, photographic syntaxes, and distinct and contrasting perspectives would lead to a portrait that is fragmentary, multivoiced, even contradictory” says Brenner.

The project revolves around an outsider’s perspective. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian photographers worked on the project. The artists were given several years to reflect an in-depth exploration of the country, its cultures, and its people.

Previously exhibited in museums such as the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum, the final show opens at the Jewish Museum Berlin on June 7. The book contains more than 200 photographs, views of all the museum shows, as well as essays by distinguished curators on the project’s history and its meaning for today’s political and cultural discourse. 

This Place
Hatje Cantz

Jewish Museum Berlin
June 7, 2019—January 5, 2020

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