We are looking forward to host the artist Eitan Vitkon with his first
solo exhibition in Berlin
at the mz project room maia zinc in berlin-schöneberg.
Artist talk! Sunday, the 18th of February at 5 pm
exhibition : February 2nd – March 2nd, 2018
The longer one looks…
From 2.2 – 2.3. 2018, Israeli photographer Eitan Vitkon will show works from his cycles
“Absent”, “Thorns”, “Wonder-Fool” and “Sea” of the years 2011 to 2017.
Dear art friends,
on Sunday, the 18th of February at 5 pm, Eitan Vitkon will be leading through his exhibition »The longer one looks…« in our continous artist talks series we will be asking about his video-art works and his up-coming projects. You are cordially invited to join us!
In the video short film “Absent” Vitkon remembers about the tragedy of the massacre in the forest of Rumbula near Riga (Latvia). The video was created as part of a project he conducted with artist friend Doron Polak in Riga.
…”When I was there, I asked volunteers to join me for a” shooting “day at the forest …”
Looking forward to seeing you there!
We will send you an exposé by request with all the works of Eitan Vitkon for sale.
The Artist Talk in pictures
Vitkon’s photographs and video art are about memory, subject, perception, and above all time. The longer one looks…, looks at or looks away, the stronger becomes the emotional attachment to the observed, in a positive or perhaps negative way. The perception may distort, the memory changes, it may rest on certain details.
In his artworks, time could be reversed or stretched, or it simply stands still. Seen through the technologically sharpened or alienated eye, the natural components as well as human experiences appear almost detached from context, thus extracting fragility and vulnerability. Vitkon’s large-format works captivate due to their high precision and strong aesthetics. None of his pictures undergo any computerized post-processing.
Eitan Vitkon, born in 1967, grew up in the South of Israel, and completed his architectural studies at the American Pratt Institute in New York. During his studies he was already fascinated by photographic possibilities, and later he made his hobby to his profession. He has been working as a photographer for over 15 years, exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions, e.g. on Israeli identity, and has become an internationally sought-after artist. his works are shown in widely known museums and galleries as well as in private collections.
The opening took place on Thursday, February 1st 2018, at 7 pm at
Kyffhäuserstr. 16 / mz project room maia zinc
in Berlin Schöneberg.
An interview with Eitan Vitkon
How did you get to photography? Would you consider yourself an autodidact?
In terms of photography, I am an autodidact. I came from the world of architecture. I studied architecture in New York at the Pratt Institute. During my studies, I did a project about the paradox between the appearance of the city New York, with its rigid grid of vertical and horizontal lines, as opposed to its own reflection on the glass façade which is kind of an amorphic and erotic image of the city. This paradox was the beginning of my photography.
Why did you come to live in Berlin and what are your plans here?
I am here on a sabbatical. I came here to do a photographic and video art project. At the end of my stay, I want to do an installation of 8 screens, in which I am creating a kind of a piazza, an imaginary piazza that deals with the architecture of the city, which is very solid and sustained for a long time as opposed to the people who are coming and passing by. And me as a member of the third generation to a grandfather who grew up here in Berlin and left in 1935 to Palestine, I came back here to do some kind of a closure, and I am circling around to find my spot in this world, following the motif of the “wandering Jew”.
In my solo exhibition at the mz project room, I will show a compilation of my previous works that deal with time, which is one of the main subjects in all of my photographic works.
Why fine art? And what are your themes that you think art conveys best?
Why art? It may sound silly, but it’s not something I chose to do. You either have it, and it comes from your stomach, or not. Since my architecture studies I was into art, I did painting and I did photography. I appreciate architecture and I am still doing architecture part time, but art is more suitable to my character. As an artist I am more flexible while architecture is very rigid, and needs a lot of discipline. When I get into a project of photography, I know how I go in there but I never know how I come out.
What are your favourite camera techniques and why, and how do you go about your art work?
From the first day I took the camera, I considered it as a brush in the hand of a painter, rather than a tool. I am always trying to break the boundary of photography and I am trying to go as far as possible from the so called photography and that is why the images look more like a painting. In order to achieve that I am doing all kinds of manipulations, either a filter, or shooting a reflection or building a sculpture on which I project or I do long exposure photography. I don’t do computer manipulations. This technique of long exposure allows me to use the camera like a brush. I am moving the camera, using the colour and the light to paint on this nccd or film or whatever the medium is.
Coming from fast paced and ever so changing Israel, what does time and place mean for you?
Here, I feel detached from the context of the country. In Israel I am part of the place, I served the army and its part of my body, part of my flesh. Everything that happens there makes me happy or I am insulted or get mad. It affects me immediately. Here, I am living in my own bubble, don’t know the language, I live in my oblivion, it feels like a vacation. It’s like a breathing process. The rhythm in Israel is hard to describe. For instance in my photo series with the bubbles, the bubble is floating in an independent cosmos in the air, and it’s so beautiful and reflecting all around. And yes, Israel is such an amazing place, but it is so fragile and anything can pop it up, and it can explode and it’s changing from one side to the other and suddenly it is going in the other direction. In Israel we are all the time in a state manic depression. Here, I don’t have it (yet). Here I am a mellow person.
Your work is about time but also memory. What fascinates you about the issue of memory? What springs to your mind first when you are back in Tel Aviv and think about Berlin?
I start with the second part. When I come to Tel Aviv it shows me immediately the difference between the two places. The difference is how I feel about myself and my existence. In Israel, as soon as I come out of the airport, I feel the rush of the Israeli rhythm and two minutes later I become so busy and I have to go to a million places at once. On the spot I miss my existence in Berlin, my quite, my isolation, without any responsibility to the huge country to carry on your back.
As for memories, that is part of who we are. It affects me. In my work, when I do a project on my country, then I all the time miss the old Israel. I am missing what Israel was meant to be. As a kid and as a grown-up who was willing to give his life for his country and now I look at my country. It’s like waking up and not recognizing the woman who is sleeping next to you. What the hell happened?
And with memory, you try to go back and it is a trap, because you can never go back. You try to go back and look at reality through the eyes of this young man who was willing to do anything for his country, and now this young man is willing to leave his country.
Your works play on a scale of monochromatic to very few pointed colours or lace over. How come?
That is not entirely true. There are two parallel lines in my works, one is my personality, what I am doing for my own fun and this is a series of cinematic photography that is very colourful. Whenever people come to my studio, they appreciate everything and in the end they buy something for house that is happy and it’s kind of what I am representing. On the other hand I have kind of my social politic art that is much more monochromatic that is because reality is not as colourful as I want it to be.
Beyond your video works, your photographs seem to include sound. Would you agree?
Yes, I do agree. I hope that my photography represents a period of time. It’s not a fraction or moment that I isolate from reality. When you look at something you feel that you are looking at a period of time, and therefore it must have sound. If you a span of a few seconds, sound must be there because it’s part of the process and if I do long exposure photography you feel what you see. When you look at the sea you can actually hear the wave, you feel that it is moving.
What would you never photograph?
Press Photography. It depresses me. I always ask my friend, the photo journalist Ziv Koren: “How can you go to sleep and actually fall asleep?” I would be too sensitive for this kind of work.
What or who inspires you?
Life inspires me. Many people in my life, especially those who are doing what they want to do. Other artists who do their work not for others to love but because that is what they love to do. And artists who break the boundary of their media inspire me.
Now that I think about it, my own mistakes inspire me. Another photographer once said: “The amazing part of your work is that you actually took a mistake and you mastered it.” So I became the master of mistakes. And I think all of my work is the fruit of mistakes. I am trying to do something that I had in mind and then a mistake appears and I say: “Wow this is a good mistake, I have to follow this line” and I follow this line.
For the project that I am working on I came to the understanding that Berlin as a city is a mock-up of architecture and urban landscape that has been here for a long time, and it is going to stay also for very long, while the people who inhabit it are all the time changing and that is something I want to capture. My family came from Berlin and left, now I am coming back to here. People passing through while the city is here all the time. I want to show the difference between the people and the actual place. For instance the villa and head office of Café Einstein (Kurfürstenstrasse), which was a tailor house 150 years ago, a casino, then it became an office of the Nazis and then it turned into a hotel and something else again. So many things happened in this same old building and this is a feeling that I would like to capture in my upcoming project.
Any place and date for this?
No. You know, I am from the Nike generation. First I do it and after I did it I hope something will catch on or somebody jumps on it.