School of Visual Arts (SVA)
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Yoav FRIEDLÄNDER: My work presents the chaotic perception of an “Americanized Israeli”; it is composed of mediated American culture, desert landscapes, and war (an integral part of life).
I mix scale models with straight photographs, both of Israel and the US, forming a conjunction between two different cultures and sets of geographical locations. I relying on preexisting images when photographing, as I am aware that I cannot reverse the influence of the same images on my vision.
These miniatures are recreations of places I do not have physical access to: memories and images of places and spaces that I saw in photographs. I make them with the intent that they will echo the realism of the original and bare the illusion of the photograph.
All of my landscapes are shot from the same standpoint: the margins of the road. They extend only as far as I can see. While in Israel, I have adapted to see the landscape from the viewpoint of a car, always ready for quick escape; in the U.S., I am bound to the same position, due only to the privatization of the land. The images I make form the illusion I am roaming the land and fully accessing it.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
YF: My move from Israel into the U.S. made me realize that recognize the American landscape and its culture as if I was always a part of the place. This made me realize that my perception is infused with preexisting images of my new home; as a result I became suspicious about what I know of my Israeli origins, about how much and to what extent photography was used to contextualize my homeland.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
YF: Robert Smithson’s writings about Spiral Jetty and Sigmund Freud’s “The Uncanny,” along with everything visual that is mediated through images. The news is a great source of friction between the reality and its visual representation.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
YF: Dana Stirling’s work is heading in a fascinating direction, as she is making books and tables combined with arranged boxes with orphan objects collected through her journeys. Also, work by Mark Yashaev that collides physical space with the represented, indexical space of the two-dimensional image
Additional credits and links:
Quoting Robert Smithson in his Spiral Jetty statement: “The photograph is a way of focusing on [a] site. Perhaps ever since the invention of the photograph we have seen the world through photographs and not the other way around.”