Shai Kremer: Work in Progress is a Featured Exhibit in the CONTACT Photography Festival. This solo exhibit present two cycles of work from Manhattan, each underway for over a decade. The title Work in Progress is a play on words—both series are ongoing or “in progress”; through these works Kremer explores progress as a simultaneously germinal and fantastically destructive force—the foundation of today’s increasingly urban, globalized world.
The exhibit highlights massive, spectacular layered abstracts of reconstruction taking place at the site of the World Trade Center. Each Concrete Abstract is a mural-sized digital composite layering between eighteen and fifty individual translucent photographs. From a distance, they read as geometrically organized abstract paintings, but closer inspection reveals highly detailed scenes shot from varied perspectives capturing the steel girders and construction crews of New York’s rising Freedom Tower.
Notes from the Edges breaches the iconic image of New York City delimited by Manhattan. Exploring the margins of NYC, Kremer captures a far different metropolis in portraits taken from the city’s fringes. These photographs emphasize the coarse juxtaposition between growth and neglect. Kremer's lens focuses on Manhattan's remote, glowing core which ripples toward us carrying all the refuse and detritus of late capitalism. As the philosopher and social theorist Jean Baudrillard wrote so eloquently in his 1986 travelogue America:
“The entire world continues to dream of New York, even as New York dominates and exploits it."