Photographer Frederic Brenner Announces the Launch of This Place, an Unprecedented Look at Israel and the West Bank through the Eyes of 12 Renowned Artists

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This Place International Touring Exhibition to Launch in Prague, October 2014; Features Work from Internationally Acclaimed Photographers Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, Nick Waplington and Frederic Brenner

I believe that only through the eyes of great artists can we begin to understand the complexities of Israel – its history, its geography, its daily life – and the resonance it has for people around the world.

Renowned photographer Frederic Brenner today announces the launch of This Place, an unprecedented global cultural project exploring the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor, through the eyes of 12 internationally acclaimed photographers. The public unveiling of the project will commence with the publication of monographs by each artist and will culminate in a major international exhibition featuring more than 500 images and the publication of a comprehensive catalog. Brenner’s contribution to the book series, An Archeology of Fear and Desire (MACK), will be available on April 14, 2014.

The photographers participating in the project are Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, Nick Waplington and Frederic Brenner. These photographers represent the most acclaimed group of artists ever to turn their attention to Israel. Each photographer spent approximately six months in residence in Israel, pursuing his or her own artistic interests, and through these residencies, which stretched over four years (2009 to 2012), thousands of original art works were created.

“I believe that only through the eyes of great artists can we begin to understand the complexities of Israel – its history, its geography, its daily life – and the resonance it has for people around the world,” said Frederic Brenner. “The images included in This Place 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.”

“As a survey project, This Place is essentially unprecedented,” said Jeff Rosenheim, Curator in Charge, Department of Photographs, Metropolitan Museum of Art. “While the Mission Heliographique (1851) featured French photographers carefully studying France and its architectural patrimony, and during the New Deal, the Farm Security Administration selected American artists to photograph America during the Great Depression (1930s), this effort is about overcoming the agenda of the place.”

This Place will launch its international touring exhibition in Prague at DOX: The Centre for Contemporary Art on October 24, 2014. The exhibition will then travel to Israel and the United States. The show is curated by Charlotte Cotton, an internationally acclaimed curator and former head of the photography department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The following venues and dates are confirmed for the touring exhibition:

•DOX: Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, Czech Republic
October 24, 2014 to March 2, 2015

•Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
May 14, 2015 to September 6, 2015

•Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida
October 15, 2015 to January 17, 2016

•Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York
February 12, 2016 to June 5, 2016

Additional venues will be announced in the coming months.

“By its very nature, This Place is a multifaceted project. It provides entry points and participation in the ongoing cultural discussion about photographic representation of politically and philosophically contested spaces,” said Charlotte Cotton. “This Place embodies the idea of photography as itself a multifaceted notion – these incredible bodies of photographic work will be the prompt for discussions, the visual vehicles for sharing ideas and knowledge, as well as the material experience of the personal journeys undertaken by the commissioned artists.”

The 13 books associated with This Place are being published over the course of a year. Following the publication of Frederic Brenner’s book, Stephen Shore will publish From Galilee to the Negev (Phaidon) in May 2014. Rosalind Solomon’s Them (MACK) and Nick Waplington Settlements (MACK) will follow later this spring; and six additional monographs will appear in fall 2014, along with the collective catalogue accompanying the exhibition. The project’s first two monographs, Field Trip by Martin Kollar (MACK) and Wall by Josef Koudelka (Aperture), were published in fall 2013.

These 13 books capture the monumental scale of the project, as well as profound and personal visions of each of the participating photographers. The diversity of their perspectives and artistic grammars captures the complexity and dissonance of the place itself.

•Frederic Brenner explores Israel as a place of radical otherness, where longing, belonging and exclusion constantly permeate through lived experience. His meticulous research is visualised as individual and societal moments that pinpoint the condition of contemporary Israel.

•Wendy Ewald initiated 14 participatory photography projects in Israel and the West Bank with community groups including schools, a women’s group, market stall owners and high-tech workers. Her work conveys a range of voices and the distinct character of each community.

•Martin Kollar captures contradictions and incongruities that visualise the threat of impending violence embedded in the routine normalcy of everyday life in Israel. His work features a series of photographs rich with subtle drama and visual strangeness.

•Josef Koudelka makes the wall of separation the central character of his epic body of photographic work. His graphic, panoramic photographs convey the sense of this archaic landscape, the impact of the wall upon it and the painful reality of the wall’s dividing route.

•Jungjin Lee immerses the viewer in the weighty layers of history that she experienced in the landscapes of Israel. Lee’s hand-made prints trace the embedded sadness and poignancy of the many abandoned and de-humanised places that she encountered.

•Gilles Peress makes an astute observation of the psychological ‘temperature’ of Israel and the West Bank. His photographs, taken on the streets, represent their inhabitants as embodiments of the extremities of perspectives that shape Israel.

•Fazal Sheikh will show a grid of 48 aerial photographs, each taken from above the traces of disappeared Bedouin villages, their size and location practically invisible from ground level. He narrates a powerful story about a community, their land and their exclusion.

•Stephen Shore will present a selection of color works (captured with his signature 8”x10” negative camera) that offer clear and astutely observed facets of contemporary Israel and visual manifestations of its divisions and histories.

•Rosalind Solomon creates a compassionate and personal evocation of Israel’s ethnic diversity through her portraits and generates a powerful aura of the relationships and lives that she encountered on her journeys through Israel.

•Thomas Struth creates substantial, individuated experiences of Israel with his large scale color photographs. The selection of works for this exhibition includes landscapes, cityscapes, industrial and religious architectural interiors and a family portrait.

•Jeff Wall depicts Bedouin olive pickers sleeping outdoors on a farm in the Negev Desert in the south of Israel in a large-scale photograph. As the sun rises over the farm and flushes the sky, the prison that sits on the hill behind the farm emanates its cold presence.

•Nick Waplington created an archive of over 1,300 photographs that represent the people and sites of Jewish settlements on the West Bank. These well-researched and faithful depictions combine landscapes and portrait imagery to create a detailed insight into this practice.

This Place will include an ambitious series of public programs, including artist talks, panel discussions, school visits and programs on college campuses. Artwork and the stories behind it will be showcased through digital channels, social media and on the project website at Follow the project on Twitter(@ThisPlacePhoto), Facebook and Instagram.

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Brittnie Mabry
Phil & Co
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