(Photographs) Facts on the Ground (Shimon Attie)

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My initial thoughts going to see Shimon Attie’s recent show Facts on the Ground were going to be a little unkind. The reproduced images that I saw beforehand looked flat, and the use of text and illuminated light boxes looked gimmicky. And why are the texts in English and not in Arabic and Hebrew? But the photographs turned out to be textured, and some of the titles were jokes that work only in English. The absence of people may be a cheap dodge, but it highlights in the photographs the physical structure of the place, the sense of being alone, of something terrible. Religion, a Judaism, faceless and depopulated, hangs heavy over like a bad sky, and over-writes the destroyed village of Lifta, the occupied West Bank, and East Jerusalem. The lighting is peculiar. Is it dawn or dusk? I’m going to say dawn, waking up to something awful.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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