THIS PLACE explores the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor, through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers.
Their highly individualized works combine to create not a single, monolithic vision, but rather a diverse and fragmented portrait, alive to all the rifts and paradoxes of this important and much contested space.
The project follows in the tradition of such projects as the Mission Héliographique in nineteenth-century France and the Farm Security Administration in the United States, which gathered artists who use photography to ask essential questions about culture, society and the inner lives of individuals. Initiated by photographer Frederic Brenner, the completed project consists of a traveling exhibition, companion publications and a program of live events.
a word from the curator
THIS PLACE unveils twelve contemporary photographic vantage points upon Israel and the West Bank, created primarily between 2009 and 2012 by Frédéric Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall and Nick Waplington. Together, they act as a heterogeneous narrative of a conflicted, paradoxical and deeply resonant place, drawn from the combination of these individual photographic sensibilities and approaches.
The conception of THIS PLACE began for its initiator Frédéric Brenner in 2005. As his afterword to this catalogue attests, Brenner was driven by a desire to facilitate a visual counter-argument to the prevailing, often polarised, representations of Israel and the West Bank in both national and international news media. Whilst on the one hand acknowledging and paying heed to the region’s ongoing conflicts, THIS PLACE also asks that we look beyond this – that we widen and multiply our lens. From the outset, Brenner acknowledged to himself that no single vantage point – including his own – could speak of the complexity of this historic and contested place and its shaping of contemporary lives; to begin to comprehend the radical dissonance of this place would require a multiplicity of practices and perspectives.
“When what is at stake is sharing the origin, it seems to me necessary to gather a large spectrum of individuals whose origins, passions and paradoxical and contradictory perspectives could help us grasp the unbearable complexity of this place and its voices.”