In 2014, artist Shimon Attie inserted approximately thirty custom light boxes of illuminated text into the contested landscapes in Israel’s Judea and Samaria, to produce site-specific installations staged specifically to be photographed. The glowing words both comment on the surrounding region and literally illuminate it, while additionally suggesting the inability of text and image to fully convey meaning.
Now Jack Shainman Gallery in New York is showing a solo exhibition by Attie titled “Facts on the Ground,” featuring the artist’s poetic interventions at meaningful public spaces across Israel.
Los Angeles native Shimon Attie, 59, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008, The Rome Prize in 2001 and a Visual Artist Fellowship from Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study in 2007. His work spans a variety of media, including photography, site-specific installation, multiple channel immersive video installation, performance, and new media. Much of Attie’s practice explores how a wide range of contemporary media may be used to re-imagine new relationships between space, time, place, and identity. Attie’s work in the 90s dealt with the Holocaust, where he slide-projected images of past Jewish life onto contemporary locations in Berlin. More recent projects have involved using a range of media to engage local communities to find new ways of representing their history, memory and potential futures.
Rich with ambiguity, the phrases offered by “Facts on the Ground”—some culled from the history of Zionism, others artistic distillations—resist interpretation, while pointing to some of the psychological, cultural, and political anxieties at stake in present day Israel. These immersive images offer opportunities for reflection, while raising as many questions as they answer.
Public collections holding Attie’s work include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre George Pompidou, Paris; International Center for Photography, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Jewish Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Attie is currently working on The Leave-Taking, a film made in collaboration with Syrian refugees who have recently arrived in Europe.
The show will run through June 4, 2016, at Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, New York.
On Tuesday, May 10th at 5:30 PM, Attie will be in conversation at the New York Public Library with Maya Benton, Curator at the International Center of Photography, and Norman Kleeblatt, Chief Curator, The Jewish Museum. The program will be held at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Celeste Auditorium, and is free and open to the public.JNi.Media