In Their Image: Album Darom

Curators: Irena Gordon, Dana Arieli

21/06/2024 -


In Their Image: Album Darom

Immediately after October 7th during which her friend, Gideon Pauker from Kibbutz Nir Oz, was murdered, Dana Arieli—a history professor and a photographer who explores remembrance culture and cultural manifestations of trauma—decided to upload a daily post to her Facebook page, each time focusing on a photographer whose work is tied to the Western Negev. The first post was uploaded on October 20, 2023, and the tribute continued for over a hundred days. The posts included photographs by the chosen photographer of the day, combined with texts that shed light on the artist and her/ his work, and were grouped under the title Album Darom: Israeli Photographers in Tribute to the People of the Western Negev. Upon completion, the album contained works by 107 photographers, who documented the Western Negev, observed it, and contemplated it through the camera, over the years and at present. Some of the Israeli photographers participating in the album are world-renowned artists, others are amateurs. The works in the album represent different photographic practices: artistic and personal )at times staged( photography, photojournalism and documentary photography, alongside video works and a photographic installation.

Album Darom (Heb. southern album) developed into three formats: a Facebook diary; a printed book (Yedioth Ahronoth, 2024) of photographs accompanied by essays; and the current exhibition, which presents the photographs alongside video works, installations, and texts. In the process, three channels of perceiving and processing reality intersected: on the social network screen, as an intimate-collective, immediate and immersive experience; amid pages of a book that invite a private reading and pensive observation; and in the museum, as a public space where visitors walk among the images and the words. This intersection makes it possible to examine multiple modes of viewing and exposure, presentation and appearance, as well as concealment and camouflage.

The exhibition In Their Image: Album Darom is a junction of diverse photo albums— artistic, documentary and private—a crossing that motivates an ongoing reflection on a present which is also a past, on a periphery which is a center, and on the personal which is always public. It holds photographic responses that keep piling up, thus unveiling multiple ways of looking at a land that extends from the distant and recent past to the present, and reflecting the perspectives of the individual and the collective, intimate as well as public. The images unfold an array of social, political, historical, and geographical affinities between man, place and landscape, culture and memory. The power of the images is gauged according to their ability to form an evidence and a processing of reality, as we are faced with the choice between that which is perpetuated and fixed and that which passes and fades away. The exhibition unfurls a spectrum of views, probing the medium of photography in relation to events that currently evade understanding.

Thanks to: Sofia Lokanova, Lee Kimchi, Michal Mudrik, Moshe Roas

Installation photographs: Tal Nisim