Across A Dark Land
[I was wandering across Israel, during very dark nights.
When the moon was the thinnest, once a month, I went out to photograph, carrying with me a generator, and full studio light equipment and a 4x5 inch camera.
I shot pre-chosen landscape scenes. 6 of them are being shown here.
Objects were being shot like desired objects, like jewelries, aiming for a clash, a contradiction between theirbeauty, their morbidity, their drama, their established violence. Among othermotivations, I have referred to a dichotomy experience of being tempted bythe images, as well as being aversed by them. Point out the relationship of, beautyfascination, force and violence.]
by prof.Martina Corgnati
Storia dell'Arte Contemporanea
Accademia Albertina - Torino:
Ohad Matalon takes us into a Land of Darkness, with no people, almost no life and no daylight. All that attracts the artist’s attention are single buildings or structures, even fragmented things, lonely and solitary. They seem to be leftovers of a disappeared world. A strangeness made stronger thanks to the night, that is, in itself, a “different”, meaningful dimension: beloved by Romantics and Surrealists, the dark, obscure night is a metaphor of perdition, transgression and departure from reason. Choosing residual elements, abandoned in space in front of a vague, open, blurred and borderless horizon, specifically shot at night, Matalon doesn’t only force his viewer but also photography itself to face strangeness, to be out, excluded from a more typical and familiar dimension.
So let’s get closer: we are, clearly at least in some images, in a war zone. A Safe House, (Target I), Urim and A Safe Zone, (Target II), Haluza., look like riddled buildings; innumerable shots, or blows, pulled the plaster out, wrecked the walls, broke the partitions down. Even the war itself seems to have abandoned them. These images do not inform, do not side with, nor take a stand. The media world and the information channels, especially today, are literally cannibalizing the Middle East greedily waiting for an image that denounces, blames, and distinguishes between good and bad.
Ohad Matalon’s work generates questions and problems, and distressing ones. It does not give any answer. His images undoubtedly portrait fragments of reality. So, this is in fact the reality of someone who lives on a bleeding border and is constantly under pressure or under attack.
Matalon does not hide the political, military and even openly violent evocation that his subjects carry, but nevertheless he bestows on them a very theatrical aura, entirely artificial, that tackles the very nature of the photographic image. It is a fragment of reality but also a set, a stage. Where are we? What do we want to be told? What are we looking for? Violence, beauty, history, spectacularity? Ohad Matalon’s images refer openly to the classic, XVIII century aesthetic concept of sublime but they propose a new, convincingly contemporary version of it.