Miri Davidovitz- Beauty & the Beast (06/11/2008 - 18/12/2008)
Curator: Meital Raz
The Beauty & the Beast is a sweet Disney tale, a modern-time adaptation to the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, written by Victor Hugo in the 19th century. The novel is a eulogy for urban claustrophobics, the darkness, the mystery and the danger of urban spaces.
Miri Davidovitz's exhibition presents a series of private photographs taken over the past three years. The works exist within the same fantastic regions which provoke mystery and unrest. The portraits create a world of dark legends – lost little girls, vampires and various creatures of the night that vanish with the light of day. The series of landscapes documented by the artist – possibly as an observer or perhaps as being observed - project a sense of freezing a scene taken from a horror film or as a paraphrase on urban legends. In this series of photographs, Davidovitz traces human landscapes free of humans: parking lots, churches and synagogues, shadowed by a catastrophic atmosphere of an upcoming disaster.
As a fashion photographer Davidovitz describes herself as one who attempts to completely dismantle the essence of both beauty and ugliness, and the fine line that runs between them. In her works, smiling models become monstrous; freaky creatures of the night full of magnificent charm; and the Tel Aviv landscape, lacking any pure aesthetics, is encompassed by a smooth and precise grace, which some say "does not belong here".
The decision to open an exhibition of a fashion photographer is not taken for granted. Fashion photography is sometimes seen as a step-brother of art, presuming to be clean of any commercial considerations.
The exhibition Imperfect Beauty, held at the Victoria and Albert London Museum, presented an argument by which fashion photographs are not merely fetishist images aimed to brainwash the masses, yet they function within the urban sphere while feeding off them. As such they raise ethical, social and aesthetic issues. A good fashion photographer, so says Couton, the exhibition's curator, is someone who succeeds in concentrating human existence into one single image, thus creating a visual language which is rooted within the collective consciousness.
Miri Davidovitz is one of Israel's leading fashion photographers. She began her professional journey during the late eighties and was one of the first photographers to turn commercial photography into a purely artistic quest, a trend that spread during the seventies in the US in the work of artists such as Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton.
Davidovitz studied art in Jerusalem and in London and worked as assistant to several fashion photographers. She exhibited in several solo exhibitions and in group exhibitions in Israel Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum.
A review of the exhibition, History & Theory, The Bezalel Academy protocols
An interview with Miri Davidovitz, Schahar Atoan, Ha'aretz, 14.11.2008
The Beuties and the Beasts, from NRG