The exhibit’s name, Concrete, seeks the use of its double meaning; on the one hand solid, tangible, real, and on the other, concrete—the construction material most identified with modernist architecture. Modern structures often populate Dorian Gottlieb’s works, but their concreteness is questionable.
The headline “Manipulated Photograph”, which describes the artistic practices in these works, implies an operating space in which the photographed image is used both as a starting point and as clay in the potter’s hands, akin to drawing or sculpting. Digital manipulations which include duplication, deletion, and reassembly of architectural elements, textures, and urban environments, as well as flat frontal photography, sealed windows, and the lack of doors and human traces, sterilize the structures from their purpose and function.
Photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher spent decades religiously documenting industrial buildings around Europe and the USA and created a typological photographic archive in which every structure has its own clear historic and functional attribution; Gottlieb’s photographic approach is entirely different. The public structures he photographs are void of any functional, historical, or geographic context. On the contrary, his works are free of commitment to any sort of documentary truth. The question of truth, place and time is present in his works in an indirect way, as an ironic, implied statement.
Photography’s reliability as a documentary tool is constantly put to doubt. The place—Israel, Europe, anywhere or nowhere. The time, revealed through signs of wear and tear stamped into the buildings: a missing tile, a crack in the wall, an unidentified stain, but also through a nostalgic look towards imagery pulled out of the collective memory. A photo of Terrazzo floors, for instance: a reference to Israeli homes, illuminated by a bright, diagonal beam of strong Israeli light, which breaks the tiles’ modernistic grid. The photographic perspective is distant, always from the outside, as that of a tourist roaming the streets of a foreign, alienated city, in constant search of human closeness.
Dorian Gottlieb (born 1986), a multidisciplinary artist focusing on photography. B.F.A. Cum Laude, Department of Photography, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design (2012), and MFA, Bezalel (2016). His works have been exhibited in the Herzliya Museum of Art, The Open Museum of Photography in Tel-Hai, Nahum Gutman Museum of Art, CAA Tel-Aviv, Barbur Gallery, Warsaw Festival of Art Photography, and more. Winner of the Lauren and Mitchell Presser Award for Excellence in Photography 2012. His works can be found in public and private collections, among which are the Herzliya Museum Collection, Gutman Museum, Igal Ahouvi Collection, ST-ART (Serge Tiroche) Collection, Gideon Ofrat Collection, Mandell Collection, and others. This is his first solo exhibition at the Rosenfeld Gallery.