Yoav Horesh | Stranger
8th December – 30th December 2016
Omer Tiroche Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition by the Israeli photographer Yoav Horesh. The exhibition Stranger will showcase a selection from two different but related bodies of works Horesh has been working on for the past six years. From 2010 until 2013 he lived and worked in Hong Kong, while teaching photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design new campus in Hong Kong. Being a foreigner isn’t new to Horesh, he has lived abroad for many years prior to his arrival in HK, though this experience stretched for him what it meant to be a foreigner in a different land; a land of profound cultural history and a broad variety of people. In 2013 Horesh moved back to Israel after being abroad for almost 17 years, and based himself in the southern neighborhood of Tel Aviv, Neve Shaa’nan. Once again he was faced with a diverse population and deep rooted cultures. Since then Horesh has captured the inhabitants and surroundings of Neve Shaa’nan in his unique photographic style. Unlike the free, spontaneous and distant approach to portraiture he used in the streets and interiors of Hong Kong, where he used hand-held cameras to capture strangers around him, in Neve Shaa’nan he connects with his subjects who give their consent to be photographed using a large format camera; the artist connects with the foreign subject and questions the notion of the Stranger in his new surroundings.
The two series are easily distinguishable from one another. In Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2013, one can feel the fast-paced movement of the big city, and the photographer’s desire to capture a fleeting moment surrounded by strangers. Whereas, in the portrait B. (Eritrea), Neve Shaa’nan, 2014, we can sense the static ground Horesh and the stranger are standing on. We hear the dialogue between the two. The subjects of Neve Shaa’nan are always looking back, there is a constant stream of connection between the strangers who have just met. According to Horesh, photography allows us (as viewers) to gaze back at the subject without forcing us to look away. This creates an alternative narrative to the familiar and expected world we know and experience. In all of his works, Horesh is always present, he is always staring back and produces incessant interactions with his surroundings.
Engaging with the Phenomenological theory of Jacques Derrida’s “Other” as well as Edward Saïd’s Orientalist approach to the same subject, Horesh inadvertently explores the ideas and the tension between East and West; Hong Kong being foreign and alien to the artist, he distances himself from his subjects as he also tells the historical narrative of the foreigner (“the expat”) and the local population. Similarly, back in his native Israel, he finds the way to explore the notion of being a stranger/a foreigner in Tel Aviv. This applies to his subjects, as well as to himself.
Yoav Horesh’s photography and interactive artworks have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world including in Germany, Italy, Israel, the United States, Russia, Hong Kong, Myanmar and also with Amnesty International. His photographs are included in many private and public collections including The Addison Gallery for American Art and The Museum of New Art in Michigan. Since 2001, many of his photographic and interactive works have evolved around the topics of transition, human tragedy, memory and recovery such as in his latest book “Aftermath”. Horesh concluded this project in 2005 as a result of three years of him photographing more than 120 sites that were subjected to suicide bombings in Israel. The purpose of the project was to document how these locations had been hastily repaired and how the destruction had been erased not only from the landscape but also from the people’s collective memory. The book includes 44 photographs from this project. Since completing his MFA from Columbia University in 2005, he has been teaching photography and art in the United States, Hong Kong and Israel in a variety of institutions and universities.