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Michal Chelbin (Israeli, b.1974)
LOT ID: 75195
Jenya, Ukraine, 2005

Chromogenic Print (C-print)
17.7 х 17.7 in. (44.96 x 44.96 cm.)
Edition of 10
Lot description
Image size is 17.7 x 17.7 inches (45 x 45 cm); paper size is 20 x 24 inches (50.8 x 61 cm).

In her sympathetic pictures of performers and wrestlers from small towns in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, England, and Israel, Michal Chelbin offers a glimpse into worlds both strange and familiar. The settings, costumes, and even some of the subjects themselves may seem exotic, but her portraits look beyond that to capture a transcendent sense of individual character.

Chelbin's most frequent subjects are children and adolescents, yet her work encompasses a mix of generations. As Leah Ollman notes, "The atmosphere falls somewhere between public and private. There's a slight titillation of having personal access to performers who, typically, are experienced only remotely. Most immediate, though, are the visual contrasts between young and old, large and small, innocence and experience."

The palette is intense, and intensely appealing, with a distinctive use of saturated pinks, blues, and greens. Chelbin's black-and-white images, which are intermingled throughout the book, have an almost Pictorialist richness. Though her influences are evident—most notably August Sander—the compelling photographs in Strangely Familiar, Chelbin's first monograph, have a unique visual and emotional impact.

Michal Chelbin (born in Haifa, Israel, 1974) has lived in Brooklyn since 2006. Her work has appeared in solo shows in Israel, Los Angeles, and New York, and in group shows internationally, and is held in many collections, including Palazzo Forti, Verona, Italy; Sir Elton John Collection; and Tel Aviv Museum of Art. []
Jenya, Ukraine by Michal Chelbin
  • Jenya, Ukraine by Michal Chelbin
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