The Julie M. Gallery is excited to announce Shai Kremer’s solo exhibition Fallen Empires, a CONTACT Festival FEATURED EXHIBIT.
Shai Kremer is an internationally celebrated contemporary photographer. Kremer’s documents a landscape scarred by the militarization of Israeli society. Preceded by Infected Landscape, an acclaimed traveling exhibit featured at Julie M. in 2009, Fallen Empires explores the layering of current architectural manifestations of dominance over sites deemed tactically advantageous for millennia.
Kremer’s critical photographs expose the often-invisible loci and networks of military power that have sculpted the history of domination and control in Israel. Ruined interiors and landscapes loaded with the sediment of conflict become a platform for discussion around the manifestations and misuses of power. In Kremer’s brooding scenes, the military potency of one nation vies with the blatant absence of a subjugated, effaced Palestinian “other”. In Landscape and Power critic W.J.T. Mitchell considers how national agendas transfigure landscape into “an idol that demands human sacrifices, a place where symbolic, imaginary and real violence implode on an actual social space.” Mitchell argues, “The challenge is to sound out this idolatry, to unbind its fascination.” Kremer’s archaeological technique embraces Mitchell’s thesis. By documenting cumulative marks left by successive empires (Roman, Arab, Ottoman, British, Israeli) each with the objective of territorial domination, Kremer incites the viewer to question the politics and legitimacy of imperialism.
The figure in Kremer’s work—man-made constructions built for military training, defense, enforcement or intimidation—entwines with the historically loaded ground to unearth such leitmotifs as cultural conflict, the physical manifestations of power and resistance, transience, justice, hubris, and fear. Heavy with the weight of privilege and authority, his historic sites are inseparable from the impact of contemporary conflict on today’s architectural landscape. He asserts that his images “…warn against the vestiges of warfare becoming a permanent fixture in people’s lives,” thereby normalizing the relentless cycle of violence and conflict.
Fallen Empires features thirteen large-scale colour photographs including one panorama. The exhibit is accompanied by an eponymous monograph published in Italy, 2011, by Radius Books that includes essays by Anne Wilkes Tucker (curator of photography), Amiram Oren (geography of defense specialist), Meron Benvenisti (political scientist), Talya Sasson (Israeli Supreme Court representative of West Bank citizens), and Ariella Azoulay (visual culture theorist).
Shai Kremer has recently shown at the Tate Modern & the SFMoMA. His work has been featured in art fairs around the globe; it is included in the permanent collections of Harvard, the MoMA, the SFMoMA, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Israel Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College, among others.
Shai Kremer Monograph