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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Last Chance to Visit “This Place” at the Brooklyn Museum

Last Chance to Visit “This Place” at the Brooklyn Museum

By Karolina Sotomayor

This Place Installation Views © Johnathan Dorado and the Brooklyn Museum

This Place Installation Views © Johnathan Dorado and the Brooklyn Museum

When struck with “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” in the introduction to “This

Place” at the Brooklyn Museum, I worried a series of gory, saddening images would

solicit the complete hopelessness I feel about the current situation in the Middle East.

Instead, the first image I encountered was Jeff Wall’s Daybreak (2011), which instantly

spoke to me. The soft blue sky accented by the first streaks of sunlight made me

question whether such a tumultuous region could ever reach that same state of peace.

“This exhibition is not going to make me want to burst into tears,” I thought as I

smiled at the kids of The Weinfield Family’s (Frédéric Brenner, 2009) uninterested

expressions. The portraits are sincere and atypical from the images usually released by

the media. There was no blood and there were no guns; instead, there were

monochromatic landscapes of cities blended into the surrounding mountains, family

members sitting side by side in the desert surrounded by herds of sheep, a grandmother,

a mother and a daughter staring right into our eyes.

This Place Installation Views © Johnathan Dorado and the Brooklyn Museum

This Place Installation Views © Johnathan Dorado and the Brooklyn Museum

 

In 2006, French photographer Frédéric Brenner envisioned a project that would

take place in Israel and the West Bank, once again gravitating towards the subject of

Jewish communities around the world. This time, along with a team of curators, he

chose eleven internationally renowned photographers to participate mostly based on

their previous works on the area.

 

The exhibition features the works of Josef Koudelka, Nick Waplington, Fazal

Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Thomas Struth, Jungjin Li, Gilles Peress, Rosalind Fox

Solomon, Martin Kollar, Jeff Wall, and Wendy Ewald. Between 2009 and 2012, the

photographers embarked on a memorable journey to Israel and the West Bank

photographing their every-day encounters in the Holy Land.

This Place Installation Views © Johnathan Dorado and the Brooklyn Museum

This Place Installation Views © Johnathan Dorado and the Brooklyn Museum

The images show the moments in between, the bits and pieces of normalcy

sowed into the reality of living in a place divided by more than two hundred years of

conflict. By the end of my visit, I returned to Jeff Wall’s picture and realized that my

understanding of life in Israel all along had been like being asleep and not wanting to

wake up to see the daybreak.

 

If you have not visited “This Place” at the Brooklyn Museum yet, it will only be

on view through June 5, so don’t miss out!

 

 

 

Article © Karolina Sotomayor

Images © Johnathan Dorado and the Brooklyn Museum

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