Barry Frydlender

born in 1954 in Israel, lives in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Together, For a Moment*

Moshe Ninio

[…] The pictures produced since 1994 are processed with increasing skill – stitching together tissue, concealing seams, misleading. The irregular ratio between their length and width accentuates the necessity in maneuvering between their overall viewing-screening (as an image) and lingering on the ‘details’ without which their reading is missed (for, in a photograph, unlike a painting, there are no ‘details’: it is always a whole assuming an uninterrupted, cohesive continuum). Here, in the scope between the immediate, categorizing gaze and the suspended ‘reading’, lies the twist, the fold. The difference between the photographs and the pictures is, thus, a fundamental one: it embodies a different approach towards the social reality (a transition from representation of differentiated individuals to that of figures in space, situated in relation to one another in a ‘weak’ field of gravity where there is no longer room for one-person manifestations); toward the status of the image (fabricated, synthetic, dissociated from a direct continuum with the source of radiation); towards the viewer (a demand for reading, withholding emotional gratification); and primarily, towards the act itself (transition from gestural-photography to text-tableaux). In a typical picture of the present kind, the situation in reality is captured via a sequence of snapshots, subsequently deconstructed on the computer screen, scrambled and re-positioned, in fact staged, as a theater of paper cutouts. Unlike staged photography of the kind that strives to create an illusion of instantaneousness, Barry Frydlender departs from a plurality of instantaneous shots towards an image of a single arrest exhibiting either a-temporality or multi-temporality. In the course of this ‘operation’, figures are displaced from the original texture of their emergence context and are woven into other spatial contextualizations, reappearing in various points of the same pictorial space-time. The final work phase is blurring the traces of the operation; re-stitching the unstitched image of ‘reality’ to form a seamless super-image, a cross between the documentary and the allegorical. At times, the illusion of sequentiality is exposed at first sight, but for the most part, it demands a closer look.

[…] So what is it, in fact, that Frydlender’s (unhappy) pictures show us? What is that thing deconstructed into its constituent elements and recomposed in a laborious process of fine welding of pixel to pixel, layer upon layer, in a reconstruction of an uninterrupted continuity, of a pseudo-photograph whole? A space-sharing togetherness. A momentary coming together that coheres individuals into an ad-hoc community whose components are defined either in relation to a common object of desire or by an existing setting they randomly share (even prior to the forced contingency of the frame, the computer screen, the printed picture). In some cases it is a setting that they fabricate, momentarily (a tribal-like encampment, a rave party site); in yet another case, it is a shared fate, unanimity, re-exposed and signified in space at a given moment (by a memorial siren, for example). Such are those beach gatherings of various clans (urban types on their weekend chill-out, urbanity subvertors), or frenzied night swims, elucidated by the title of the work as recruitment party – one last moment of unconstrained possession of the body prior to its consignment to the military (centered around the recurring motif of blindness, embodied by the key figure blinded by the flash); such is the ritual of standing at attention, being brought to a stand-still in the middle of the street (momentary obedience to a unifying sound that marks a common fate via shared mourning over figures similar to those who a moment earlier ran wild on the beach); such is also the orientation toward a common point of stimulus (such as a festive military fly-over in the sky, a drawing motif, a hunting prey) or the act of sitting in a café (the ultimate contingent togetherness in the urban sphere). All those sharing these moments are brought into a ‘togetherness’ of a suspended ‘blink-of-an-eye’, that perpetually frames, as a picture (such as the one on that street corner in Bonn), the migrant and the already-always legal, based resident, the senior citizen who has seen it all and the young woman who hasn’t seen much, the cyclist and the pedestrian, a poodle and, say, a shepherd dog. A random con-figuration, which the frame (with extensive cutting, pasting, and layering) has furnished with steady visibility, is framed as a pseudo-community that is an ostensibly functioning, ad-hoc balanced composition.

Moshe Ninio

© All rights reserved to the author

4.05 / tuesday, 20.00
Galeria Wschodnia, Wschodnia 29/3

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