Photographer Adi Nes is one of Israel’s most widely recognized artists, known for his provocative staged portraits and tableaux.
Nes’s work focuses particularly on identity, on what it means to be a citizen of Israel and how masculinity is defined within that context. He frequently works in series and draws on past works of art or historical scenes as backdrops for his images. One of his best known works is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s famed mural of The Last Supper, but with 14 Israeli youth dressed as soldiers replacing the figures of Christ and his disciples.
This exhibition features 11 images from Nes’s most recent body of work, Biblical Stories (2003–06). In this series, he transports figures from the Old Testament to scenes depicting contemporary homelessness. He chooses moments from the original stories when the characters found themselves dispossessed or exiled and draws on recognizable visual sources as wide-ranging as Caravaggio’s paintings and Dorothea Lange’s photographs. In Untitled (Elijah), the prophet is aged and weary, lying on a park bench, his head resting on his hand. Untitled (Ruth and Naomi) shows two women picking dropped fruit not from a field but an unpaved street littered with refuse. Casting ordinary people as the biblical figures, Nes imagines the characters of tribal myth as denizens of Israel’s new urban underclass, “homeless” in the heart of the Jewish homeland. He inscribes these foundational figures of Jewish history in a global conversation that touches not simply on Israel but on the universal right for a person to have a home.
Adi Nes (b. 1966) was born and raised in Kiryat Gat, Israel, to Jewish parents of Kurdish and Iranian descent, and studied photography at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Now based in Tel Aviv, he has participated in numerous group and one-person exhibitions since 1993. His work is in the collections of the Israel Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Jewish Museum (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Official Website: http://www.wexarts.org/ex/index.php?eventid=2609
Added by Wexner Center on January 28, 2008