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Daniel Tsal: Party

Photographer Daniel Tsal is the fourth winner of the Lauren and Mitchell Presser Photography Award for a Young Israeli Photographer. The exhibition features photographs in various sizes and techniques, from simple color prints, large-scale wallpaper prints and a monumental light box. They all depict seemingly European youngsters, in their twenties. Each creates a world—a personal, lonely world. Appearance and façade are the essence: the most intimate, the most baring, is exposed and frozen in time.

Running in the Park, 2018
Printed wallpaper, 330×480 cm

Courtesy of the artist

Tsal lingers over the position, the simplest mundane act such as removing a stain from a shirt, darning a sock, touching up a hairdo in front of a mirror, walking down stairs, peeling an egg, etc. The figures insist, each focusing on his or her own activity, on creating total silence for themselves within the external noise. “After setting up the scene I asked the models to repeat the activity again and again, over time, in order to capture that specific moment of total withdrawal into the activity,” says Tsal. He creates a rich psychological range through carefully staged and planned photography. The moment Tsal chooses to capture in his photographs, the actual moment of action, points to the fragile boundary between the authentic and the staged.

Alongside these photographs, Tsal presents works deliberately disrupted with Photoshop, thus causing the viewer to reconsider the medium’s reliability. The human body, naked, mostly male, usually limp, is examined in the exhibition both as an (erotic) form and as contents. The photographer’s intense closeness to the objects of his works, the objects of the gaze and of desire, is evident. His photography excels in distilling the human from the prosaic, from the marginal, from that which does not seek to be seen or remembered or become an image.

A monumental light box, The Party, comprised of dozens of photographs of youngsters dancing, is in the center of the gallery. Each of the figures was photographed alone in the studio, and collating them into one photograph is artificial. The size of the light box sets a boundary within the exhibition space, becoming a sculptural-photographic element.

Tsal extricates silent dramas from these simple mundane activities. His photographs entreat the viewer to pause the gaze, withdraw; they are shrouded with great sensitivity and humanity.

Tsal was born in Tel Aviv in 1985 and lives and works in Tel Aviv and Berlin. He is a graduate of the Fine Art Department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and of the Frankfurt Städelschule Student Exchange Program. He has exhibited alone and in group exhibitions in galleries in Israel and abroad. His works have been featured in local and international publications and magazines. This is his first exhibition in a museum.

The exhibition contains mature content and may not be suitable for all audience.

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