An exhibition of recent photographs of Israel and the West Bank by Frédéric Brenner will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from May 7 – July 3, 2015. An Archeology of Fear and Desire is part of an unprecedented photographic project by Brenner, which explores the complexity of Israel and the West Bank as place and metaphor. A book of the same name, published by MACK in the UK, last year accompanies the exhibition. An opening reception with the artist will be held on Thursday, May 7 from 6-8 p.m.
An Archeology of Fear and Desire is Brenner’s contribution to This Place, an epic photographic project he conceived of at his home in Paris in 2005. He imagined inviting artists from around the world to come to Israel “neither to praise nor condemn but to question and reveal.”
Now 10 years later, the project is in full blossom. Twelve internationally acclaimed photographers have traveled to Israel between 2009 and 2013, representing the most acclaimed group of artists ever to turn their attention to Israel. A major traveling exhibition is opening at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in May and will travel to the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, in October and to the Brooklyn Museum of Art next February. The exhibition is curated by Charlotte Cotton, an internationally acclaimed curator and the former head of the photography department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
An Archeology of Fear and Desire, the exhibition at Howard Greenberg Gallery, represents the first showing of the work from This Place in the U.S. Brenner explores Israel as a place of radical otherness, where longing, belonging and exclusion constantly permeate through lived experience. Landscapes of the desert, portraits of farmers and fighters, and families relaxing on vacation or commemorating holidays draw the viewers’ attention to look beyond the headlines. “It is an essay about devouring myths and how constructs, social and religious, perpetuate a tyranny of roles which render us strangers to what is most intimate in us,” Brenner writes in his book.
Since 1978, Brenner has been chronicling the Jewish diaspora by producing visual social histories of Jewish communities in more than 45 countries. For Exile at Home, a second part of the exhibition at Howard Greenberg Gallery, Brenner traced the lives of 14 Jewish families for more than 30 years. “It’s been an exploration of the human condition through a hole in the door,” he notes. The exhibition documents the growth of the families he stayed in touch with, including side-by-side images of children decades ago next to images taken recently showing them with their children and in some cases, their grandchildren.
About the Exhibition This Place
This Place is a monumental artistic endeavor initiated by photographer Frédéric Brenner, who believes that through the eyes of great artists we can begin to understand the complexities of Israel—its history, its geography, its inhabitants, its daily life—and the resonance it has for people around the world.
Inspired by historical models that gathered artists to ask essential questions about culture, society, and individuals, including the Farm Security Administration in the United States, Brenner first conceived the idea for the project in 2005. After seeking the advice of a group of international curators, he invited 11 acclaimed photographers to join him in exploring Israel and the West Bank.
The 12 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. Each photographer spent approximately six months in residence, pursuing his or her own artistic interests. Through these residencies, which stretched over four years from 2009 to 2013, thousands of original art works were created. These images 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.
About Frédéric Brenner
Frédéric Brenner was born in France in 1959. Brenner is best known for his opus Diaspora, the result of a 25-year search in 40 countries to create a visual record of the Jewish people at the end of the twentieth century.