Shai Kremer

Fallen Empires

September 8 - October 15, 2011

There is a visual history over and under the surface, spoken by the land and its stones and by all the civilizations that have arisen there. Israel is a sophisticated and manipulated palimpsest. Extensively covered by the media, debated by nations, claimed by religions, it is also a case study about the phenomenon of empires. - Shai Kremer

The Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce our second solo exhibition and book release of Shai Kremer’s new project Fallen Empires, that develops and expands the concerns of his first body of work Infected Landscape, shown here in April 2008.

Kremer continues to mine the political landscape of Israel as document and metaphor, recalling a long history of military landscape photography that goes all the way back to Roger Fenton and invokes what has recently come to be termed “the military sublime”. The landscapes and ruins are poetic, beautiful and aesthetically resonant; yet they genuinely engage with the issues of the transience of civilization and the legitimacy of imperialism. The dramatic images in the show date back to ancient civilizations including Masada, the Roman era, the Turkish Empire, the crusaders, both world wars, up through the recent Palestinian conflicts. As in his earlier work, the images seduce and then can hit you in the gut with details like surveillance cameras mounted to ancient sacred walls and jagged debris that resembles abstract sculpture.

Kremer was born and raised in Israel, received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and now lives between New York and Israel. His work is included in many public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Since 2006 Infected Landscape has traveled to galleries and museums in China, Japan, Italy, Spain, Oslo, Bergen, Lithuania, Toronto, Houston, Tampa, Portland and Paris. A work from this project has travelled in the show Exposed: Voyeurism, surveillance and the camera since 1870 to the Tate Modern, SF MoMA, and the Walker in Minneapolis.

The monograph is co-published by Radius Books and Dewi Lewis Publishing, with essays by Ariella Azoulay, Meron Benvenisti, Amiran Oren, Talya Sason, and Anne Wilkes Tucker. The hardcover includes 136 pages and 50 color plates. The book is available through the gallery, the publisher and Amazon.

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