My works are self interrogations that are threaded into subjects of a larger scale - the myths, landscapes, taboos, and images that form the foundations of identity and place.

︎︎︎ Artist Statement
︎︎︎ Bio
︎︎︎ CV         ︎︎︎ download pdf

Other Works

Shabtai Pinchevsky

Artist Statement

My works are self interrogations that are threaded into subjects of a larger scale - the myths, landscapes, taboos, and images that form the foundations of identity and place in the country from which I come.

In my works, I tackle the involvement of the photographic medium in the history of colonization in Palestine and the creation of the Zionist sense of place. I work from the standpoint, and in an effort to imply, that photography didn’t only contribute to these colonial projects, but was also affected by the tasks it lent itself to. As a photographer, I use my work to challenge what is perceived to be native and naive in the images made by others and myself. I approach the photographic medium as an extended field, using multiple research and presentation tools such as video projection, virtual environments, mapping and surveying, three-dimensional digital modeling, and other digital technologies in conjunction with extended archival research.

Working in a digital three-dimensional environment allows me to step outside of the photographic frustum, and to study the complications and entanglements of the medium, as an outside witness. By employing a diverse set of technological and conceptual tools, I am able to closely interrogate historical and contemporary photographic material, and to reconsider the context of their creation. That interrogation does not signify a departure from the medium, but rather a commitment to it.

Within the field of research-based art, my interest extends from the practice of research to its placement within the public domain. I believe that research should not be limited to the discovery or creation of exclusive artifacts, but should be engaged with the creation and dissemination of knowledge, which in turn can lead to public action, acknowledgment, and inclusion. In this way, I see my practice as politically active.

My most recent works engage with their subject matter using performative texts. I work with texts that are situated within a certain historical and cultural context - a personal letter, a commencement speech, an elevator pitch, or the 19th-century oratory text, to name just a few. I’m using the tension created by the contradiction between my performed delivery and the message of my writing, as means to create engagement with my work, and to embody the political complications that are the center of my works. My written texts place me, their speaker, in an immediate role within the context of my works. I’m not an outside observer, but an implicated actor within the territories I explore.

Speaking in a loud and clear voice has been my way of departure from the artistic demand and desire to create ‘objects that speak for themselves’ - a notion that comes from the colonial institutions of the cabinet of curiosities and the Encyclopedic Museum. These traditional presentations of artifacts, which are embedded within the modern art world, make these artifacts convenient for anyone to project meanings of their own upon them, at the price of stripping away their social, cultural, and political context, to the point that they can barely speak for themselves at all. In my practice, I’m committed to unabashedly formulate, using images and words, the complex ideas and contexts within which I operate.

Creating and researching in the US introduces important aspects to my work. Exploring the geography of Jewish diaspora, and the way it is embedded within the North American landscape, presents for me a way to challenge the Zionist notion of an inevitable Return, and the idea of a destined homeland. Working outside of Israel offers freedom from the mental constraints of an ancestral home, and presents the fascinating challenge of translation - to address local symptoms while connecting them with global phenomena.

May 2021