I am a neuroscientist and an avid art photographer. In recent years I found myself directing most of my attention and energy to still life photography of biological specimens, highly inspired by my long-lasting confrontation with biological tissues in my clinical research.
It takes a while for a young clinician or a researcher to accommodate to the laboratory or hospital scenes. Even after extensive training, some cannot adjust to the visuals. I feel my photographic activity carries me to these sometimes emotionally disturbing regions too.
My photographic activity deals with the aesthetics of the scene, improvising various contexts; the tools and paraphernalia shown are not just the typical ones used in the operating place.
My "Life Science” project situates biological tissue into relatively pleasant, sometimes artificial scenarios, contemplating issues of materialism, erotica and mortality, corresponding with the complicated and intriguing category of “Animal Reminder” in the visual arts.
I feel my work also challenges various ideas about violence. We tend to describe violent humankind behavior as an animal-like beastly revolting one, associated with violent animal behavior. However, I believe in many aspects we are inferior to the moral conduct of the animal world, while being superior in our “creative violent behavior”.
All specimens in the photographs are derived from Natural History collections.
— Eran Gilat
Beautiful, surreal and disturbing, the artwork ofhas attracted vocal criticism — positive and negative — since the early 1990s. In an exclusive audio interview with LensCulture, Ballen talks at length about his photography. Listen to the interview while looking at 25 recent photographs.
By watching the creative process as it happens, artworks can be understood as the result of an ongoing thought, rather than as a final, completed work. A conceptual photographer and videographer team up to explain.
“Our mode of being in this world, that is our ability to insert ourselves into the present and to make the meaning of our time memorable and affirmative ... is neither closed nor predetermined...”