print

Citizens

Curator: Neta Gal-Azmon 6.4.2017 - 5.8.2017

New York's Brooklyn Heights neighborhood has an especially high concentration of state institutions which inspire a particularly noticeable presence of "the state." Wandering in its streets, one is exposed to the architectural idiosyncrasy of the neighborhood, whose streets are strewn with 18th- and 19th-century brownstone houses abounding with architectural gems. Due to its uniqueness, the neighborhood has been embraced by large production companies as a location for TV series and feature films. The Appellate Division Courthouse portrayed in Arnon Ben-David's photographs, for instance, has served as backdrop for the TV series Boardwalk Empire and for Steven Spielberg's film Bridge of Spies. "I was intrigued by the ability to shoot the government buildings while serving as set for a film, enabling me to address the tension between fiction and nonfiction as part of the political facet of my work," Ben-David explains. His gaze projects questions regarding the status of government institutions in citizens' lives on this stratified image: Do they activate our lives, explicitly or implicitly, or rather operate in the background, maintaining order?
Other than reality and fiction, Ben-David's work addresses prevalent conventions, manners of speech, and means of production. Hence his decision to print earlier photographs using offset printing methods, and the ones in the current exhibition — on vinyl. It is rather the expensive, ostensibly higher-quality processes that indicate drawing away from the conventions familiar from everyday life. The use of attainable means is based on the realization that the uniqueness of the individual photograph does not lie in its objectness.


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Arnon Ben-David, The Appellate Division Courthouse, Brooklyn Heights, during the filming of the TV series "Boardwalk Empire" 01, 2013 Color photograph, inkjet print on vinyl, 140x90

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