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Past Exhibition

Toby Cohen- Cherubim & Angels (06/05/2010 - 06/08/2010)

In his first one man show in Israel, Toby Cohen, a British born photographer, presents a series of large scale panoramic photographs that trace his Jewish identity, and document his journey in the obscurity of contemporary Judaism. From the Jewish martial arts of the “Abir”, via spiritual journeys in Uman with the Hassidic Breslav, to the Tkoa settlers – Cohen documents and turns them into flying and dancing scenes.

All the seven photographs displayed in this exhibition have a story of their own. For example, the flying Sukkah built by Cohen after studying the rules of a Kosher Sukkah, or the “Abir” warrior with whom he visited the Habaal Shem Tov's grave in Ukraine.

The name of the exhibition, “Cherubim and Angels”, is inspired by the mythic hybrid creatures who are described in the Old Testament as being between man and god. By depicting his photographic subjects as flying objects, Cohen actually elevates them to a climax of spiritual sublimity, detached from the tangible.

The highlight of the exhibition is a photography project that lasted for several months and which was documented in a video – a staged photography by Cohen as a tribute to  Maurycy Gottlieb's "Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur". Cohen found himself attracted to Gottlieb, who died on the age of 23 – both as an artist and as a Jew.

He accurately recreated Gottlieb's painting, using his family, relatives, and friends as models. Cohen himself appears in the photography as Gottlieb, who perpetuated himself in the painting.
This staged photography is displayed in the inner show room of the gallery, which is dedicated to famous Jewish artworks by Marc Chagall, Mane Katz, Reuven Rubin, and Moshe Castel. Cohen’s staged photography creates a dialogue between contemporary and traditional Judaism.

Toby Cohen, born 1979 in London, is a graduate of UWE in Bristol.
Cohen made his first steps in photography at the age of 21, as a paparazzi photographer. His photos were displayed on the cover of the Daily Express and in the popular celebrities paper News of The World.
At the age of 25 he abandoned the paparazzi career and traveled for the first time with his friends to Israel. He found himself attracted to Israel, and visited several times, traversing it throughout its length and breadth, while continuing to photograph, and getting acquainted with the various Orthodox Jewish movements.
Today Cohen lives and works in both London and Tel Aviv.

reviews on the exhibition:

Past Exhibitions List.
Engel Gallery - 100 Ben Yehuda St., Tel-Aviv Tel. 03-5225637, Fax. 03-5226145
Engel Gallery - 13 Shlomzion Hamalka St., Jerusalem Tel. 02-6232397, 02-6253523, Fax. 02-6249439
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