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Tag Archives: Photography

Tracing Bloodlines – Taryn Simon’s photography

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Taryn Simon exhibition’s theme has much in common with PhotoIreland Festival subject which is Cultural Identity.

Her latest exhibition in MoMA New York “A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII” was produced over a four-year period (2008–11), during which the artist travelled around the world researching and documenting bloodlines and their related stories. In each of the 18 “chapters” that make up the work, external forces of territory, power, circumstance, or religion collide with the internal forces of psychological and physical inheritance. The subjects Simon documents include victims of genocide in Bosnia, test rabbits infected with a lethal disease in Australia, the first woman to hijack an aircraft, and the living dead in India. Her collection is at once cohesive and arbitrary, mapping the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate.

Simon’s project is divided into 18 chapters, nine of which will be presented at MoMA. Each chapter is comprised of three segments: one of a large portrait series depicting bloodline members (portrait panel); a second featuring text (annotation panel); and a third containing photographic evidence (footnote panel).

A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII exploits photography’s capacity to at once probe complex narratives in contemporary politics and organize this material according to classification processes characteristic of the archive, a system that connects identity, lineage, history, and memory.

May 2 – September 3, 2012

The Robert and Joyce Menschel Photography Gallery, third floor.


Jewish Tombstones for Everyday Use – Lukasz Baksik

a photo of grinding wheel made of matzevot

"Matzevot for Everyday Use", Lukasz Baksik, 2008-2011

Photographer Łukasz Baksik (born in 1975) is primarily interested in documentary photography. All of his previous projects (e.g. Main Course Polish Style, Ordering a Beer, or The People of Nowy Square) contained a crucial social component. For many years Łukasz Baksik has been documenting Jewish cemeteries in Poland.

Embellished with symbols and inscriptions, Jewish tombstones convey information about the life of people, families and entire shtetls (towns). How many matzevot were there before the World War II at the 1,200 Jewish cemeteries in Poland? This is a question, which nobody can answer today. The number may have reached a few hundred thousand or a few million.

More than four hundred Jewish cemeteries did not survive the war times. They were rearranged to provide sites for housing estates, sports fields, garbage dumps or sand quarries. The sand mined from them to build houses was mixed with human remains. Only a hundred and fifty graveyards still have more than a hundred gravestones.

During the World War II the Nazi occupants used matzevot to pave the courtyards of their new buildings, to lay roads or erect walls. Poles continued this infamous practice after the war. Matzevot were used, for instance, to line a water pool for fire fighters, a railway embankment or a riverbank. They were used as building material for furnaces, flooring and road curbs. A visitor will find hundreds of grinding wheels made of matzevot, many of them still bearing Hebrew inscriptions.

The excibition “Matzevot for Everyday Use” forms part of 22 Jewish Culture Festival which takes place in Krakow – Poland from 29 of June until 8 of July 2012.


Quiet crossings, Kinship, and Intimacy in Lebanon and Northeast Syria

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Untitled, Beirut 2010, by George Awde

George Awde, an American-born artist of Lebanese descent, is a photographer and educator who works in the US and Beirut. He received his BFA in painting from Massachusetts College of Art in 2004, and in 2009 he received his MFA from Yale University in photography. His work has been exhibited internationally.

In this exhibition, Awde offers viewers painstakingly detailed photographs rich with quiet emotion that implicate the complex relationship between the body and labor migration in Lebanon.

The history of labor migration between Syria and Lebanon reaches back to the 1950s and 1960s, and is redolent with coercive tactics that marginalize laboring bodies within low skill service work. Rather than simply depicting this dichotomy between privileged and laboring classes, attempting to recuperate the nobility of laboring bodies, or relying on an often-exploitative strategy to feature the laboring bodies in the act or setting of their work, Awde’s exhibition highlights their quiet and oft unexceptional pathos. In doing so, he showcases the intimacy shared amongst these men to offer a poetic reflection on community.

http://georgeawde.com/

 


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