Landscapes of Israeli seacoast, the north Negev and portraits are the images of Roi Kuper’s new works.
In contrast with earlier black & white photographs these are colored photographs.
Charged with Israeli political, social and personal realities, the photographs are a product of a well conscious process.
Occasionally their expression is direct, usually indirect.
Even though personal aspects the works are not restricted to a subjective state of mind.
Rona Sela* in her article for the catalogue “Citrus Necropolis” says: “The subject matters in Kuper’s works are hard, incisive, painful yet their visually is not offensive or garish, but beautiful, pleasant, gentle. Kuper’s gaze is introverted and the calm surface of his works has to be peeled away to reach the heart of the matter.” There is not a crucial modification in Kuper’s manners of acting, though the appearance seems different.
Kuper state that his main interest is the accurate, detailed observation, starting with observing the landscape then holding of the gaze. The continuity of the act transforms itself to a meditative gaze.
“…As a creator I’m looking for new observations, trying to find how to rupture (break) the normative gaze… photography is at first an observation; looking inside and outside at the same time… the product of photography reveals an instant of delay, an external reality but it is also an image of an inner process.
If, in the works from the series Necropolis Kuper referred to the destructive military presence, damaging the landscape of Israel and in the series Citrus he focused on photographing deserted citrus groves that until recently were the absolute symbol of the Zionist dream and national collective ethos, in the current series Kuper focuses his camera on silent, anonymous, isolated landscape.
Only the rustle of ears (of corn) in the wind or the murmur of the sea waves can be heard. Apparently there is nothing worrying in those views.
The power of the image lies in their muteness.
Kuper says,”what is interest for me is a place empty from people that everything can happens there. Places where there can occur expectation for something to happen, where additional (further) meanings of ideas concerning space and way of looking can appear… the gaze arises thoughts and emotions while standing ahead something to come…”**
The works examine the position of one looking towards the horizon, the endless space provides kind of relief, but only for a moment. The photographs attempt to be point for relaxation, meditation and utopia. But like the hero of the “Quay” by Chris Mrker, we realize that there is no refuge from the past.***
The portrait: a woman, her eyes shut down with a serenity expression, her classic feature disconnected from any background. Fragility is hiding under the perfect lifeless mask.
*”Species of Memory”: Notes on the Works of Roi Kuper, 1990-2001, Citrus Necropolis, Hertzliya Museum of Art, 2001.
**From a conversation between Kuper and Effrat Shalem, Studio Magazine, No. 128 pp. 28-34.
*** From a conversation with Roi Kuper.