Sharon Yaari – a future for photography

 In ArtCrit


I met an amazing photographer in Tel Aviv last week – Sharon Yaari. It felt like he had a good idea about where photography should go next, something few people seem to have much of an idea of. He is making these large-scale black and white photographs of  Israeli subjects, which are both unexpected and contain a reverberating symbolism. Like a picnic table with Hebrew writing crushed under and old tree – what a Momento Mori! Or prefab-apartment blocks in a severe, almost military brutalist modernism style, but locked down in an irresistibly elegant photographic composition. So it’s like a post-large-format colour photography return to traditional Black and White photography. There’s spoonfuls of Joel Sternfeld in his hypnotic portraits and narrative-filled panoramas. But his work is really like the best symbolic Jeff Walls – like the pots of paint, or ‘The crooked Path’ – the ones that aren’t staged, but which find a symbolism embedded in a real scene. It wasn’t all black and white, and there was a series of colour photographs of places where grass is cultivated (and then removed) in Israel which is about the Israeli/Zionist myth about ‘Making the desert bloom.’ There’s another amazing set of photographs of dust from explosions wafting through the city. It’s all very clever. The tired formulas of photography of the past twenty years – typologies, big colour pictures, empty architectural interiors etc – are avoided. TYaari deserves a solo show in Europe somewhere.  People need to see this stuff.