Brutalism and the expressive use of exposed concrete were the defining feature of the architecture of 1950-1970s Israel, as of many other countries. Today, these structures are largely met with criticism and even contempt. Consequently, many have now been earmarked for destruction. Israeli photographer and media artist Eli Singalovski has set out to capture the raw beauty and rich form of buildings such as those of Be'er Sheva, a city twinned with Munich, and of other towns and cities not only in Israel but across the entire world. The utopian, pioneering spirit progressively associated with this concrete aesthetic during the construction of the new Israeli state is a constant presence in his photographs.
Singalovski places Brutalist buildings at the center of his dramatic black-and-white shots. His deserted scenes are devoid of any perceptible human activity. His long nighttime exposures divert our attention from the ageing materiality of the exposed concrete to the futuristic structure and visual appearance of the architecture.
As the artist explains, "I wanted to leave out all the stuff that I think is irrelevant. I wanted to take nighttime pictures in order to detach the building from its surroundings, with a black sky. That was designed to help the viewer focus on all the details of the building." Each building, by thus being placed center stage, reveals its highly individual character. "The idea was to photograph the buildings in this way, to get as close as possible to a portrait picture – a portrait picture of a building taken in a studio. Like taking a picture of a person in the studio, against a black backdrop."
Eli Singalovski has been awarded a City of Munich residency from January to March 2023.
With generous support from Artis
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