Shai Ignatz: Goldi
Curator: Raz Samira
Spanning twenty years of intense photographic practice in stills and video, this comprehensive show is Shai Ignatz’s (b. 1969) first museum exhibition. It features a wide range of works, from his days as a student, with the video work Mother, through the series Independence Park, which first brought him into public notice, and the series WIZO Women and Monsieur Léri, to more recent video works making their public debut here.
Ignatz’s work is steeped in eroticism and tension, curiosity and compassion, beauty and vulnerability. His focus is on direct photography of portraits, which are unique in the circumstances of their creation, in the reason for the encounter with the subjects, and in the nature that meeting assumes. His first encounter with the subject—which he initiates through a random contact, usually through gay dating websites—takes place in front of the camera. The sitters are not professional models or celebrities, but rather anonymous people whom he asks to photograph in their immediate environment, usually at home, or in a place that serves them as a substitute home.
The sitters differ from each other in age, ethnicity, gender, and geographical location. Ignatz exposes the ravages of time on their faces and bodies, presenting them in their physical and mental nakedness, with the camera serving as both a pretext for the session and a shield. He does not stage the scene in advance, and does not know what nature the photographic session will have. Each photograph explores the interpersonal tension or intimacy created in conditions of foreignness.
Presented alongside the still photographs are video works, which also explore the relationship between photographer and subject. Whereas in the former Ignatz completely eliminates his presence, disappearing behind the camera, and the viewer knows nothing about him, in the latter a dynamic with the subject develops, and the photographer even emerges into the frame every now and then. Over the years, the video works have grown increasingly longer, and Ignatz’s figure as an artist and a person has been increasingly exposed.
David Chaki, Exhibition design
Ayal Goldberg, Video editor
Binya Reches, Sound editor
Yasmin Vardi, Colorist
Elad Sarig, Photos
Design and Production: Gila Kaplan, Avi Bohbot
Design and production: Gila Kaplan, Avi Bohbot